by Macy Conley
All the children know what to look forward to on Easter morning. However, in different parts of the world children and families will be celebrating in different ways. Whether you are looking for new traditions or adding to your own, here are Easter traditions from around the world.
Hungary: “Sprinkling/ Whipping”
These two traditions are derived from pagan practices for cleansing, fertility, or in celebration of the spring equinox. “Sprinkling” is when young women are sprinkled with water or perfume by young men in the town. The lady who is drenched is said to be married within the year. “Whipping” is very similar to “sprinkling” but instead of using water, thin willow branches are decorated and used to lightly (very lightly) hit young woman to help with fertility.
France: The “Easter Bells and Omelets”
Cloche volant (flying bells) are the French equivalent of the Easter Bunny. Legend says that on Good Friday, all the church bells fly to Rome and with them goes the grief of the people over the loss of Jesus. The Flying Bells return on Easter morning with chocolate and goodies. There is a more regional tradition in the town of Haux. The townspeople make an omelet with over a thousand eggs. This tradition came about when Neapolitan stopped in town with his army and had an omelet in the inn where he was staying. It is said that he thought the omelet was so good, he ordered that all the eggs in the town be gathered and used to make an omelet to feed his army the next day.
Spain: “Danse de la Mort”
Also known as the “Death Dance”, this is a scene that would be more in line with Day of the Dead celebrated in Mexico. The “Death Dance” is the reenactment of the crucifixion of Jesus but all the actors are dressed up like skeletons. The procession begins around midnight and ends in early morning with the skeletons caring boxes of ashes.
Finland: “Treating Witches”
Finland also has some Easter traditions that fall more in line with Halloween than Easter. Children in Finland dress up as witches with broom sticks hanging around their necks. They will then go door to door and trade their drawings for sweets. There is another take on this tradition where children dress like beggars and beg in the street for goodies.
In 1923, a tradition started when a publisher was promoting crime novels on the front page of the newspaper. This has since grown to an Easter tradition with creating a type of crime novel called “Paaskekrimmen” or “Easter thrillers” which has grown in popularity.
Poland has a similar tradition to that in Hungary of getting into water fights with either buckets or water guns. This tradition, known as “Smingus-Dyngus”, has different roots and began in 966 A.D. with the baptism of Prince Mieszko.
Greece: “Pot Throwing”
On the Island of Corfu, this tradition happens just like name implies. People stand out on the streets and toss their old pots and pans. The Greek believe that clearing out the old pots and pans marks the begging of spring and symbolizes the new plants that will be gathered in new pots.
In Brazil, people make a doll out of straw that is supposed to represent Judas. The people celebrate by setting fire to the doll or destroying it with explosives.
Ghana: “Picnic and Paragliding”
Ghana celebrate Easter a little bit differently. Families will gather together and share an Easter Feast called a “Picnic” and watch the Annual Ghana Paragliding Festival which also happens to take place on Easter.
Let us know if you adopt any of these traditions by tagging us on social media with the hashtag #ERCLWorldlyTraditions