Easter is a holiday celebrated around the world, yet in many different ways. The event being commemorated is the same everywhere but it is interesting to see how different cultures in different parts of the world celebrate. This list presents 10 Easter celebrations and commemorative traditions from various points around the planet. We are not all the same.
10. Orthodox Christian Calendar
The various Orthodox churches around the world – Greek, Russian, Armenian, etc – use a different calendar and typically celebrate the holidays at different times than most of the rest of the world. Christian churches in the West celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21. Therefore, Easter is observed anywhere between March 22 and April 25 every year. Orthodox Christians use the Julian calendar to calculate when Easter arrives and typically celebrate the holiday a week or two after the Western churches, which follow the Gregorian calendar. Easter 2010 is one of the very rare occasions when booth Orthodox and non-Orthodox religions celebrate on the same day.
9. Warding Off the Witches
In Finland, Sweden and Denmark, traditions include egg painting and small children dressed as witches collecting candy door-to-door, in exchange for decorated pussy willows. This is a result of the mixing of an old Orthodox tradition of blessing houses with willow branches and the Scandinavian Easter witch tradition. Brightly colored feathers and little decorations are also attached to birch branches in a vase. In some parts of Western Finland and Germany bonfires are held on Easter Sunday, a tradition meant to ward off witches flying around between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
8. No Easter Baking for the Men in Poland
If the man of the house in Poland takes part in preparing the traditional Easter bread, custom has it that his moustache will turn grey and the dough will fail. So the lucky man of the house is banned from helping out.
7. The Death Dance of Verges
On Maundy Thursday in Verges, in Spain, a traditional “death dance” is performed which involves a parade down the streets of the medieval town. Everyone involved is dressed in costumes and the procession ends with frightening skeletons carrying boxes of ashes. The scary dance begins at midnight and continues for three hours into the early morning.
6. Decorating Fountains in Switzerland
In Switzerland, villages turn their fountains into Easter Wells, using paper streamers, flowers and painted eggs to decorate them. The tradition takes place to celebrate the symbol of water, and its importance to the dry areas of the Alps.
5. A New Take on Easter Eggs
In Latvia, the traditional Easter game played by the children is similar to conkers – but with eggs. Players pair off and use hard-boiled coloured eggs joined together with string. Competitors bang the ends of the eggs together until one player’s egg breaks. The winner is the player with the stronger egg.
4. No Easter Bunny in Australia
The Easter bunny is the most popular symbol of Easter thanks to the Americans, but over in Australia they prefer to use their native marsupial, the Bilby. This is due to the fact that the rabbit is seen as quite a pesky and harmful predator in the country, since it digs holes everywhere and eats crops and vegetation.
3. Spraying the Women
In the region of Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, there is an Easter tradition of spanking women on Easter Monday. Males throw plain or scented water at females and spank them with handmade whips made of willow and decorated with ribbons at the end. The spanking is light and supposed to be symbolic and according to legend, females should be spanked in order to keep their health and beauty during the next year.
2. Caribbean Kites
In Bermuda a symbolically important part of the Easter celebration is the flying of kites to symbolize Christ’s ascent. Traditional kites are constructed by Bermudians of all ages as Easter approaches, and are normally only flown at Easter. In addition to hot cross buns and Easter eggs, fish cakes are traditionally eaten in Bermuda at this time.
1. Eggs and Chocolate
Easter eggs, as a sign of birth and new life, are the leading tradition for Easter. Most of the wold has embraced the chocolate egg. In Europe egg painting remains a popular and widespread tradition. In parts of France, the tradition is to make omelets and egg dishes on Easter to feed to the less fortunate. Though it is expressed in many ways, Easter tradition is not complete without the egg, a universal truth.
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