When we think about Easter, chocolate eggs and blessed olive branches immediately come to our mind. However, other countries celebrate this anniversary in many ways! In this post, we will travel around the world and show you 9 traditions out of the ordinary.
Here Easter recalls the Krampus tradition. Men disguised as devils, called “talcigüines”, revisit Catholic rites according to pagan influences and march along the streets whipping those they meet. This rite represents Jesus’ struggle against temptation. In the end Jesus himself arrives and the talcigüines bow down at his feet.
The “devils” remain lying on the ground for hours under the sun as a sign of penance, while their family members sprinkle fresh water to prevent them from falling ill.
Aussies celebrate Easter with the Sydney Royal Easter Show, one of the most important events in the country. It lasts two weeks, during which farming communities show their crops to citizens.
Here the Easter Bilby, an endangered species, replaces the bunny as one of the Easter emblems!
During Easter you may see a performance known as “Sinakulo” and processions along the streets of the cities. During the crowdy parades, participants self-flagellate and crucify themselves to “feel” the Passion of Christ.
On Easter Sunday then, people bring palm leaves to the church to make them blessed, and use them as decorations for the houses.
On Easter Monday in the main square of this town, citiziens prepare a giant omelette using more than 4.500 eggs! The tradition dates back to the Napoleonic times, when the general and his army stopped in this city and ate an omelette. They found it so good, that Napoleon ordered the citizens to make a giant omelette for his entire army!
In the rest of France, however, the bells remain silent from Good Friday to Easter Sunday as a sign of mourning for the death of Christ.
Easter here means egg battle! It is a competition in which the whole family participates and consists of throwing hard-boiled eggs against each other! The egg with the hardest shell wins and the loser has to eat all the broken eggs!
Traditionally, on Easter morning, people wash their face with the water in which a red painted egg and a silver coin have been soaked. That is a symbol of health and purity.
Another traditional practice is the Smingus-Dyngus: on Easter Monday the boys try to splash their friends with buckets of water. Tradition says that girls who get bathed will get married within the year.
SWEDEN & FINLAND
In Sweden for Easter, people decorate birch twigs with painted eggs and feathers, for accelerate the arrival of spring. Boys and girls dress up as witches and, as happens on Halloween. They go trick-or-treating by offering Easter cards in exchange for sweets. This is because according to Swedish tradition, Easter symbolizes the departure of witches towards the Blue Mountain.
In Finland people light the “Kokko”, large bonfires that repel the magical inhabitants of the woods. Traditional dishes are the “Pasha”, a ricotta pudding, cream, sugar, butter and eggs, and the “Mammi”, a rye pudding.
Here the festivities begin on the Monday before Lent with the traditional kite flight. Typical dishes are lamb soup, the “Maghiritsa” and the “kokoretsi”, grilled entrails.
In Corfu on the morning of Holy Saturday, the inhabitants of the island throw pots, pans and other kitchen utensils out of the windows. It’s a ritual that marks the beginning of spring! New crops will have to be cooked in new crockery.
On Good Friday bells don’t ring in the churches and, in some villages in the north, people play instead large wooden rattles, the “Cuqlajta”. In the late afternoon, a procession with life-size statues takes place, revealing the different stations of the Via Crucis. Participants dress up as ancient Romans or biblical characters.
On Easter Sunday the bells ring, people carry the statue of the risen Christ in arms to the church, accompanied by the music of the bands. Instead of the chocolate egg, children receive a Figolla: it’s a sweet in the shape of a bunny or chick, made with almond paste.
On Easter Monday according to tradition, men spank women with willow whips. This is because the willow is the first tree to flower in spring and its branches are believed to have the ability to transfer their fertility to women. Another tradition consists of walking through the streets, from Holy Thursday to Saturday, shaking wooden rattles to call people to church. This custom dates back to the time when churches didn’t have bells.
Did you know any of these customs?!