Easter Traditions Around the World

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Easter is celebrated around the world in a surprising variety of ways – with traditions like Bretzelsonnden, Easter-Bilby, Locsolkodás, Påskekrim,  or барашек из масла.

From Easter-Egg traditions to family gatherings, Easter is a major holiday for Christians all over the world. But despite the common ground at the center of the celebrations, not everyone around the world celebrates the holiday in the same way or with the same traditions. These unique Easter celebrations around the world will intrigue and maybe even inspire you to attend one.

The Easter egg hunt is probably one of the most popular Easter traditions. It takes place almost all over the world. It is where parents hide eggs and sweets – usually outdoors – for their children to find.

PussyWillows are especially picked at Easter in England and Russia. People would tap each other on the shoulders with a branch of the pussy willow for good luck.

The Easter-Bunny or hare is known for delivering sweet treats to young children, so it's no surprise that Easter baskets often feature a chocolate bunny. In France and Italy, however, it's not the Easter bunny that children have to thank. It's the Easter bells, back from Rome, that is responsible for sending the chocolates everywhere.

In 1991, Rabbit-Free Australia launched a campaign to replace the Easter bunny with the Easter-Bilby, or rabbit-eared bandicoot. Why the bunny hate? In Australia, rabbits are widely considered pests for destroying crops and land. Companies now make chocolate bilbies for Easter, with proceeds benefiting the endangered animals.

Locsolkodás (Sprinkling) is a popular Hungarian Easter tradition, young men used to pour buckets of water over young women's heads, but now they spray perfume, cologne or just plain water, and ask for a kiss. People used to believe that water had a cleaning, healing and fertility-inducing effect.

Bretzelsonnden, Pretzel Sunday, is celebrated in Luxembourg, pretzels are actually sweet puff pastries with icing and almonds. Guys give the girl they fancy a pretzel on Sunday. If she accepts the treat, the guy is allowed to visit the girl on Easter Sunday and will get an egg in return. If all of this happens in a leap year, the roles are reversed, and the girls can hand out pretzels.

Easter time is crime time in Norway. Norway celebrates Easter in a very unusual way: by reading and watching stories about crime (Påskekrims). This “Easter crime” tradition is unique to Norwegians, as no other country around the world celebrates the sacred holiday by obsessing over mysteries, murders, and violence.

барашек из масла In Russia, the Easter meal is accompanied by a knob of butter fashioned into the shape of a lamb. It dates back to ancient times when it was considered a lucky omen to meet a lamb. Why a lamb? Because you can be certain it's not Satan in disguise. 

The Death Dance of Verges: On Maundy Thursday in Verges, in Spain, a traditional “death dance” is performed which involves a parade down the streets of the medieval town. Everyone involved is dressed in costumes and the procession ends with frightening skeletons carrying boxes of ashes. The scary dance begins at midnight and continues for three hours into the early morning.

Zwänzgerle is a game where the child challenges parents to break his painted Easter eggs with a coin. Parents do throw the coin at an egg from a "fair" distance. If they miss and the egg stays intact, the kid gets to keep the coin. If you succeed, the coin and egg are yours. This is an old Swiss tradition meant as a way for children to make a little bit of pocket money.

The Caribbean Kites in Bermuda, a symbolically important part of the Easter celebration is the flying of kites to symbolize Christ’s ascent. Traditional kites are constructed by Bermudians of all ages as Easter approaches, and are normally only flown at Easter. In addition to hot cross buns and Easter eggs, fish cakes are traditionally eaten in Bermuda at this time.