Easter is just around the corner. The old western tradition was to give up something you like for the 40 days of Lent leading up to Easter. Although recently, it’s all about children chasing an Easter egg hunt and indulging in chocolate eggs.
However, Easter comes with all kinds of traditions and customs. It’s a festival which is celebrated around the world in a range of different ways.
So, let’s explore some fun Easter traditions from around the world.
Bermudian kite flying
The people in Bermuda aim high for Easter with kite flying being a favourite pastime during the holidays. Bermudians make their own kites with wooden sticks, colourful paper, and intricate designs. A special tissue called ‘hummers’ is used which makes a buzzing sound that is renowned to be the sound of Bermudian Easter. On Good Friday, the locals celebrate by flying homemade kites, eating codfish cakes and hot cross buns at the annual kite flying festival.
Murder mystery in Norway
The Norwegian tradition Påskekrimmen is reading, watching, and listening to crime stories and detective thrillers during the Easter holidays. The tradition began in 1923 when a book publisher promoted a new crime novel on the front page of a newspaper. The ads were so realistic that people weren’t sure if it was a publicity stunt. Today, Norwegian media produce special ‘Easter Thrillers’.
Water fighting in Poland
On Easter Monday, the Polish celebrate Śmigus Dyngus (Wet Monday) by engaging with friendly water fights. In the olden days, it used to be a way for single men to chase single ladies, but now it’s a water fight for anyone and everyone. The weapons of choice are water guns, empty shampoo and dish soap bottles, and, of course, good old-fashioned buckets.
Halloweening in Sweden
Sweden, and some of its neighbouring Scandinavian friends, celebrate Halloween in spring, on the Thursday before Easter. Children dress up as Easter witches wearing long skirts, colourful headscarves and painted red cheeks, and have broomsticks. They go from home-to-home in their neighbourhoods offering the adults decorated willow branches and drawings in return for treats. The tradition comes from the legend that Swedish witches went to Blåkulla before Easter to party with the devil. To make sure that the witches wouldn’t come back, the Swedes burn big bonfires on Easter Sunday.
Clay pot throwing in Corfu
On Easter Saturday, watch out for flying pottery on the Greek island of Corfu. The tradition dates back to the 16th century when people threw all of their useless and old belongings out of the window to get ready for the New Year. The breaking pots were said to scare away evil spirits and mark a new beginning.
Egg-cellent cooking in France
Eggs and Easter go together like presents and Christmas. On Easter Monday, in Haux, France, about 1000 people get to eat a giant Easter omelette made of more than 4000 eggs and over 100 pounds of bacon, garlic, and onions in the town’s main square.
Pretzels in Luxembourg
Luxembourgers celebrate Bretzelsonndeg, Pretzel Sunday, on the third Sunday in Lent. In Luxembourg, pretzels are sweet, puff pastries with icing and almonds. The tradition is that guys give a girl, who they fancy, a pretzel on this day. If she accepts the treat, then the guy can visit the girl on Easter Sunday, and will get an egg in return. If all of this happens in a leap year, the roles are reversed, and the girls can hand out pretzels.
Russian eggs, kulich and paskhas
This Russian Easter tradition involves decorating hard-boiled eggs, such as dying and painting them. The decorated eggs are then exchanged with friends and loved ones and are used in games like ‘egg rolling’ and ‘egg tapping’.
The Russians also traditionally enjoy special Easter foods, such as kulich (sweet, yeast bread with raisins, similar to Italian panettone) and pashka (a pyramid-shaped cake made using cream cheese). Both of these treats are often decorated with the letters ‘XB’ which are the first letters of “Христос Воскресе”, a Russian Easter greeting.
Bulgarian egg fighting
The Bulgarians celebrate by taking part in fun, family-friendly egg fights and whoever comes out of the game with an unbroken egg is the winner and assumed to be the most successful member of the family in the coming year.
Another old tradition is where the oldest woman in the family rubs the faces of children with the first red egg she has coloured, symbolising her wish that they have rosy cheeks, good health and strength.
Easter is a happy occasion, and over the years practices have been adapted. It’s great to see that countries worldwide celebrate the festival in their own unique ways.