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10 Easter Traditions from Around the World

Every year, boys and girls all over the UK and beyond awake in late March or early April to find that an Easter Bunny has hidden eggs of the chocolate variety all over their home or garden – weather depending – and this is widely accepted as the norm. However, the complex roots of Easter-based traditions mean that other cultures may find this custom nothing short of bizarre, whilst carrying out their own customs that seem alien to us! Often these customs aren’t just religion-based, but a result of an event or occurrence in history that has become accepted and popularised over time.

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We’ve put together a few of our favourite traditions that will be taking place all over the globe this weekend, to give you a less-chocolatey taste of how other cultures celebrate the occasion.

Finland

Children opt for a witch or wizard outfit in this Scandinavian country, with painted faces and scarves around their heads, whilst carrying bunches of willow twigs decorated with feathers. They then ‘beg’ for chocolate on the streets, much like trick-or-treating. In the west, bonfires are lit to ward off the evil witches.

Norway

Norwegians embark upon the tradition of reading crime novels over the Easter period, which is said to have started in 1923. A famous book publisher promoted its new crime novel on the front pages of the national newspapers, but the ad was so realistic that people couldn’t differentiate whether it was real news or a publicity stunt. The custom is now known as Paaskerkrimmen.

Czech Republic

On Easter Monday in the Czech Republic, men playfully spank women with handmade willow whips that are decorated with ribbons. Willows are the first tree to bloom in spring, and it is believed that the branches will transfer vitality and fertility to the women.

Poland

Families prepare a ‘blessing basket’ the day before Easter, which is filled with coloured eggs, sausages, bread and other staple foods before being taken to the church to be blessed, with lent not being regarded as over until the latter is complete. The day after Easter, young boys attempt to soak girls and other boys with water guns and buckets full of water, with folklore suggesting that girls who are soaked will marry within the year.

Greece

On the island of Corfu, residents take part in ‘pot-throwing’, which is exactly as you might imagine. Pots, pans and crockery are thrown out of their windows on Holy Saturday to signify the beginning of spring and the new crops that will soon be gathered.

Israel

It is believed Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem and here, Christians celebrate Good Friday by walking the same path Jesus did on the day he was put to death. Some choose to carry a cross with them on their journey in remembrance, whilst on Easter Sunday pilgrims attend a church service at Garden Tomb where Jesus is believed to be buried.

Italy

In Florence, a 350-year-old Easter tradition known as Scoppio del Carro, which translates as ‘explosion of the cart’, is celebrated by locals. A cart packed full of fireworks is led through the streets by people in colourful costumes before stopping outside the Duomo. The Archbishop then lights a fuse that starts the firework display, which is meant to guarantee a good harvest.

Australia

Rabbits are perceived as pests in Australia, thanks to their tendency to destroy crops and land. A movement called Rabbit-free Australia launched a campaign in 1991 to change the Easter Bunny to the Easter Bilby, a nocturnal marsupial that is unique to Australia. Big chocolate companies now make chocolate bilbies to sell, the proceeds of which are donated to the benefit of endangered animals. There is also the two week-long Sydney Royal Easter Show, the largest annual event in the country that allows farmers to showcase their crops and livestock.

India

Christians make up just 2.5% of India’s population, but that doesn’t stop the elaborate Easter festivities from taking place, particularly in northeastern states. Carnivals, street plays, songs and dances are commonplace over Easter weekend, and flowers, chocolates and colourful lanterns are exchanged amongst families and friends.

Latin America

Countries in Latin America, Brazil, and even certain parts of Spain participate in The Burning of Judas, whereby an effigy of Judas is created and burned in the centre of their city, town or village. Sometimes, the effigy will explode with fireworks for maximum effect.

Do you know of any other Easter traditions you’d like to share? Let us know via our social media channels if you want to add any to our list!

If you find yourself getting into the spirit of new beginnings and a fresh start that stereotypically comes with Spring, then the foot or hand cast of your beautiful baby or a holding hands casts of you and your loved one could be the perfect way of rounding off a milestone age, event or occurrence, before the excitement of the next chapter begins! We cast many things, from the tiniest new-born feet to the paws of pooches; so if you have something a little more ‘unique’ you’d like to enquire about, don’t hesitate to contact us today!