5 Weird and Wonderful Easter Traditions From Around The World
One of the biggest holidays in the Christian calendar is just days away and, while we in the UK celebrate by gifting chocolate eggs, people around the world will be celebrating the resurrection of Christ and the season of new life in vastly different ways.
Here are some of the craziest yet utterly fascinating Easter traditions from around the world…
Easter Traditions From Around The World
Hungary - Sprinkling the Womenfolk
In Hungary, a rather unusual Easter tradition takes place on Easter Monday, known as locsolkodás. Hungarian men are allowed to sprinkle or splash women with water or perfume, after reciting a short verse known as a locsoló. In return, they are gifted homemade treats, painted eggs or small amounts of alcohol. The traditional Hungarian spirit, pálinka, is most commonly gifted and the verses recited range from innocent traditional verses to more contemporary and slightly racy versions!
Finland - The Witches of Easter
At Easter time, pussy willow is the only flourishing plant in Finland. For centuries, Finns have been decorating willow twigs and placing them in vases to signify the start of spring. The embellished twigs are also part of an Easter tradition which is in parts, similar to Halloween. Children dress up as witches and go door-to-door to exchange bunches of willow twigs for confectionery and other treats. It is thought that this tradition comes from an old belief that witches and evil spirits would roam the streets and cause mischief during the run-up to Easter.
Greece - Red Eggs
Easter is the most important festival in the Greek Orthodox calendar. Easter eggs play an important role but Greek Easter eggs are nothing like the ones we have in the UK. On Good Thursday, eggs are boiled and dyed bright shades of red. The red dye symbolises the blood of Christ and the hard shell of the egg represents the tomb from which he is believed to have emerged after his crucifixion.
On Easter Saturday, the red eggs are used as part of a game, during which players tap at each other's eggs until they crack. The cracking of the eggs symbolises the resurrection of Christ.
Papua New Guinea - Tobacco Trees
The people of Papua New Guinea decorate trees near churches over the Easter period but not with painted eggs or other colourful decorations as one might expect. Instead, the branches are used as hooks from which to hang tobacco and cigarettes. These are then handed out to those attending church services on Easter Sunday.
Bermuda - Kite Flying Festival
On Good Friday, Bermudians take to Horseshoe Bay Beach to fly colourful, handcrafted kites. It is thought that the tradition began when a local Sunday school teacher tried to explain to his students how Jesus Christ ascended into heaven and launched a kite to help him do so. Kites of various sizes are launched by the people of Bermuda on Good Friday, mostly made from coloured paper, wood, bamboo, metal and string but they are often hexagonal or octagonal.