While we may hunt around the garden for colored eggs, others around the world will celebrate Easter in different ways. Whether it comes in the form of burning effigies, water fights or flying kites, it seems we all have our own take on how Easter should be celebrated. Here are six interesting Easter traditions from around the world.
The visit from the Easter Bunny that children look forward to every year does not happen in Australia. Rabbits are somewhat of a pest there, destroying crops like no other. Luckily, Australians don't miss out on the chocolate delivery; they have the Easter Bilby to deliver their treats. Not only do the Australian’s prefer the bilby as their Easter animal, the cute fella is an endangered species, which makes Easter the perfect time to create some publicity around the conservation campaign.
In Finland, children dress up as witches and go out begging for chocolate in the streets. They have their faces painted, scarves around their heads and get to wave feather-laden willow twigs around until they're gifted their sweets. It’s a bit like a Halloween and Easter combo.
On Easter Monday, Poles take to the streets for a full-blown water fight. Yup, a water fight. The tradition, known as Smigus Dyngus, stems from the baptism of Polish Prince Mieszko in 966. Legend has it that girls who get soaked on Easter Monday will be married within the year. The boys don’t just soak the girls, though; everyone is fair game. If you’re visiting the country at Easter time, consider a raincoat.
A teacher from the British Army tried to explain to his Sunday school class the story of Jesus rising to heaven by flying a kite. The cross-shaped design perfectly illustrated the ascension and became the start of a kite-flying tradition. On Good Friday, locals celebrate Easter by flying homemade kites and enjoying local delicacies. Codfish cakes and hot cross buns are the perfect fuel for the kite-flying fanatics.
Easter is a big tradition in Italy with the Pope delivering mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica. It’s in Florence, however, where Easter really goes off with a bang. The 350-year-old tradition, known as scoppio del carro, involves loading an old cart with fireworks. Spectators then stand back as the wagon explodes into a stunningly colorful display. The tradition is said to be a sign of peace for the year ahead, although it’s certainly not a quiet one.
In Germamy, decorative eggs are blown by hand, carefully decorated with waxes and paints and placed on trees outside or branches indoors. We’re not talking just a few eggs either; some are extremely extravagant. The most famous example is Saalfelder Ostereierbaum, initially decorated by the Kraft family around 50 years ago. The famous tree was home to over 9,000 easter eggs at a time.