6 Unique Easter Traditions from Around the World
- Marianne Stenger
- 10th April 2017
Easter weekend is approaching, and while in the UK we’re looking forward to things like hot cross buns and chocolate bunnies, decorating Easter eggs and joining in on Easter egg hunts, other countries around the world have their own unique ways of celebrating.
Here’s a small sampling of the fun and unique Easter traditions from all around the world.
In Finland, Easter is celebrated in a similar way to Halloween, as the children will dress up as Easter witches and go door-to-door to wish people a happy Easter while handing out willow twigs they have decorated with brightly coloured feathers and paper.
The willow branches were once believed to ward off evil spirits, and in exchange for these branches, the children will receive Easter eggs and other candies.
On Easter Monday, Hungarians observe a custom known as “Sprinkling.” The day is also known as “Ducking Monday” because young men will go door to door and ask the girls and women if they can sprinkle them with water or perfume by reciting a short “sprinkle poem.”
The tradition stems from an old belief that water has a cleansing and fertility-inducing effect, and not too long ago men would actually pour whole buckets of water over the young women’s heads.
On the Greek island of Corfu, Easter is celebrated by smashing clay pots. At exactly 11 am on Holy Saturday, residents will throw clay pots, jugs and other earthenware vessels of all shapes and sizes from their balconies, windows and roofs.
The tradition was adopted from the Venetians who would throw their old belongings out the window on New Year’s Day to make way for the new. The noise created by the breaking pots was also thought to ward off evil spirits.
In the village of Bessieres in the south of France, a popular Easter Monday tradition is the preparation of a giant omelette. The event draws thousands of visitors each year, and last year it took 50 volunteers the better part of an hour to crack the 15,000 eggs for the giant omelette. The tradition dates back to 1973, when local shopkeepers formed the “Giant Omelette Brotherhood.”
In Bermuda, Good Friday is a day for kite flying, and many locals will even spend the weeks leading up to Easter designing and creating their own elaborately decorated kites for the occasion.
The tradition of flying kites is meant to symbolise the Ascension, when Christ rose from the grave and ascended to Heaven. After the kites have been flown, prizes are also handed out for the best kites in a variety of different categories.
In Antigua Guatemala, intricate carpets made of coloured sawdust and flowers are laid down on the cobblestone streets in anticipation of the Easter procession. The elaborate sawdust carpets can take thousands of volunteers and hours of hard work to make, but disappear in a matter of minutes.
In 2014 the country was recognised by the Guinness Book of Records for creating the world’s longest sawdust carpet. Nearly 5,000 volunteers worked on the carpet which ended up being 6,600 feet long.