Easter traditions around the world
It feels like the year has barely started and Easter is already around the corner. We wondered how this holiday is celebrated in other countries and stumbled upon some diverse traditions
1. Florence, Italy
The people of Florence have a very surprising 350-year old tradition to blow up a wooden cart, filled with Pyrotechnics, which they dragged through the town in front of the cathedral. The Archbishop lights up a rocket and shoots it at the cart to make it explode.
This ceremony is called Scoppio del Carro (explosion of the cart) and is a sign of good fortune and peace for the new year.
Aussie kids are visited by the Easter Bunny just like in most western countries. Although bunnies are considered pests in down under, because they destroy the land. So, they replaced the bunny with an animal of their own: The Easter Bilby. The resemblance to a bunny is there and it brings the kids equal joy.
Hungarian girls should make sure to always have a towel with them on Easter, as the boys sprinkle them with water, or sometimes perfume as a sign of healing and fertility. Some of the lads even sneak a kiss or two!
Kids dress up as colourful witches, with red painted cheeks and go from door to door to exchange candy for their drawings. Sounds a lot like Halloween, but without the horror.
5. Latin America
In many latin American countries, people make effigies of Judas, who betrayed Jesus and ended up being the reason he died on the cross. They organize public events, where they burn the figures, or sometimes even use pyrotechnics to make them explode.
Although the dominant religion in Indonesia is Islam, 3.5% of the population is Catholic. Christianity was brought to Indonesia in the 16th century by the Portuguese, so on Easter the people carry status from that time through the streets and young men let themselves be tied to a cross to play Jesus. This is considered a great honour.
All over Spain many people are parading in processions during the “Semana Santa”, the holy week leading up to Easter. Religious brotherhoods wear their traditional costumes, they carry floats with impressive artworks of Jesus, Virgin Mary or the Cross and some women dress in black to mourn the death of Jesus.
Special treats include Easter cakes, which are round and sweet breads and Torrijas, which are basically french toast soaked and honey.
In Germany, people decorate trees with easter eggs, bake cakes in shapes of a lamb and color eggs. The night before Easter, there is a big mass, which is usually ending in a gathering, where the members of the community talk, eat sweet bread, easter eggs and drink wine.
In the morning of Easter Sunday, kids are searching for chocolate bunnies, eggs and sometimes even small gifts, the easter bunny hid in the garden (or the house due to bad weather).
9. Corfu, Greece
If you walk through the streets of Corfu on the morning of the Holy Saturday, you should watch out for falling pottery! People throw pots and pans out of their windows to welcome spring as a symbol of hope for a good harvest. They throw out the old plant pots to make room for the new ones.
10. The UK
In some British communities people go on the streets, dressed up in traditional clothing, waving ribbons and dancing to welcome spring and drive away the winter spirits. The kids go on an Easter egg hunt and before eating them, they have an egg jarping competition.
They smash the tops, then the bottoms against each other and the undamaged egg wins. There even is a World Jarping Championship being held in Durham every year!