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7 Easter traditions you might not know about…

We’ve taken a look at some of the most bizarre Easter traditions across the world, proving that there’s more to Easter than chocolate eggs and bunnies…

Germany – Easter tree or ‘Osterbaum’

These Easter trees are either made of branches cut from pussy willows or or are small living trees and bushes that are already planted around the house. The cut branches are brought indoors to be decorated with hand-painted wooden eggs, hollowed out real eggs and little garlands. The living trees and bushes outside the house are also decorated with plastic, wooden or real painted eggs and wreaths.

Osterbaum - Easter Tree
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Slovakia – whipping women and girls into good health 

Men and boys douse women in water on Easter Monday, and in some cases, the women are then whipped with a whip made from thin branches of a willow. Why? Because this is meant to symbolise youth and make women healthy for spring. Similar traditions are observed in several Eastern European countries including Hungary and Czech Republic.

Holloko, Hungary. 21st Apr, 2014. Local men splash water at a girl as part of traditional Easter celebrations
© Xinhua / Alamy Stock Photo

Philippines – Christians repent for their sins

One of a number of public events in the Philippines at Easter time sees Christians walk through the streets, half naked and barefoot, whipping themselves with bamboo sticks and sharp blades as they repent for their sins. Performing this act is meant to replicate the suffering of Jesus and cleanse the soul.

San Fernando, Philippines
© PACIFIC PRESS / Alamy Stock Photo

France – the ringing of the bells

The tradition begins on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday, all the bells in France stay silent and still in memory of Jesus’ passing. The silence is broken on Easter morning, when the bells begin to ring in celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. This a joyous occasion for much of the French community, as friends, family and neighbours pour out into the streets to wish warm greetings to those around them.

Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Camargue, France the church bell tower
© Ruth Hofshi / Alamy Stock Photo

Finland – children dress as witches and hunt for treats

Much like the tradition of Trick or Treating at Halloween, the children of Finland dress up as witches at Easter and go from door to door asking for treats. They offer a decorated willow twig as a gift in exchange for a treat for themselves. They recite a short poem which translates as “I wave a twig for a fresh and healthy year ahead; a twig for you, a treat for me!”

 

Beautiful little girls dressed as a traditional witches
© Sunshine Pics / Alamy Stock Photo

Greece – red eggs and Easter bread

The Greeks dye their eggs red in memory of the resurrection and blood of Christ. They say that red is the colour of life and victory, and use the red eggs as decoration through their braided Easter bread.

Homemade Greek Easter Bread with Red Eggs
© Brent Hofacker / Alamy Stock Photo

Spain – the Holy Week processions 

In the last week of Lent, processions take place in many towns and cities across Spain, to mark Holy Week.  These processions are performed by members of Catholic religious brotherhoods, who wear different coloured robes to distinguish themselves.

Andalusia, Cordoba, City, Holy week, Spain
© Prisma Bildagentur AG / Alamy Stock Photo
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