Unique Easter Traditions
From Around The World
In the United States, the Easter bunny, Easter egg hunts, church services, and traditional family dinners dominate the holiday schedule. Every state, city, and village has their own unique twist on traditional Easter festivities, while the White House Easter Egg Roll takes center stage as the main media event. More than a few of our traditions might seem strange to other nations in the world. The same goes for how we might view Easter traditions from other countries. Take a quick tour with us to learn about some of the most fascinating Easter traditions from around the world.
Hundreds of miles east of America in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean, Bermudians celebrate Good Friday with an annual kite festival. Legend has it that a schoolteacher once used a kite to explain Jesus Christ's heavenly assent to children. Ever since, a kite festival is held on the beach, and anyone on the island can join in. In more recent years, competitions have also cropped up in all kinds of categories, including cooking, and other enjoyable family activities were added to the festivities. Many families go to the event just to watch the hundreds or thousands of kites dancing in the wind.
While kites are soaring into the sky in Bermuda, citizens on the island of Corfu are keeping their heads up for a different Easter tradition. After a festive Good Friday that includes street bands, parades and dancing, the chime of the 11th hour bell on Saturday gives way to the clamor of clay pots smashing on the streets. Some trace the event back to a Venetian New Year's tradition where people would toss out items with hopes for better fortune in the upcoming year. Others link it to beginning of the spring season where old pots were shattered to make way for new pots and new plants.
Much like the United States and many other countries in Europe, many of Bulgaria's traditions revolve around the Easter egg. After painting or dyeing Easter eggs, the Bulgarians don't just put them out on display. Instead, they celebrate with an Easter egg "fight". The fight, also known as egg tapping in many European Easter traditions, involves pairing up and smashing eggs together until one of them breaks. The competition continues until there's one egg left standing, which is kept as a token of good luck by the winner throughout the rest of the year.
There aren't many surprising Easter traditions in Poland up through Easter Sunday. However, on Monday, which is traditionally celebrated as part of the Easter weekend, an age-old custom lets boys run around with buckets of water or squirt guns to have a water fight, specifically trying to splash the girls. Known as "Wet Monday", the tradition has developed into more of a free-for-all in most parts, where all children and adolescents are potential targets for getting soaked with buckets of water. Among other things, the tradition is viewed by most as a fun game to mix things up during the Easter festivities.
Those accustomed to the frequent chiming of church bells in major French cities like Paris are in for an unusually quiet stretch of hours on the Thursday before Good Friday. In France, the church bells don't ring from Thursday to Easter Sunday to remember Jesus' sacrifice. On Easter Sunday, the bells joyously ring out to symbolize the Resurrection. The silent bells have become characters themselves in the French tradition. To explain why the bells aren't ringing, parents tell their kids the bells have flown to the Vatican to visit the Pope. As they return, the bells pick up chocolate and gifts to deliver to the children, serving the role of what would be the American Easter bunny.
Fans of mystery stories, thrillers and crime novels would love this Easter tradition in Norway. For nearly a century, Easter in the Scandinavian country has been associated with crime fiction. So much so that publishers have been known to wait to release new books in the genre until Easter, while television networks skip Easter themes and broadcast murder mysteries marathons and detective stories. The tradition is believed to have started in the early 1920s, when a newspaper published an advertisement for a crime novel on the front page, leading many to believe a train robbery had occurred. Since then, Easter is known as the best time of the year to find some good books to read in Norway.