5 Fascinating Easter Traditions from Around the World
Who can forget the thrill of an Easter egg hunt when we were children? Colorful eggs filled with candy, toys, and confetti awaited our grabby hands as we searched for these hidden treasures.
Hollow chocolate bunnies filled our decorative Easter baskets, along with hand-dyed hardboiled eggs, and the day almost always included a big meal with a juicy Easter ham and hot crossed buns.
These are just a few of the traditions that many American families observe during this spring holiday.
But how do other cultures from around the world celebrate Easter? Here’s a quick tour…
1. Australia – The Easter Bilby
Yes, you read that right – the bilby.
In 1991, a campaign was launched to replace the Easter bunny with the Easter bilby. Why? Because many Australians view wild rabbits (not native to the country) as pests that destroy farmers’ lands and crops. Plus, research has shown that rabbits negatively affect over 150 native species!
Bilbies, on the other hand, are a native Australian species that promote a healthy ecosystem. Several other native species benefit from the bilby’s digging skills – including birds, insects, and small mammals who use the bilby’s burrows for shelter and protection.
2. Florence, Italy – Explosions Galore
For over 350 years Florence has celebrated Easter with a cultural tradition known as Scoppio del Carro, or “Explosion of the Cart”.
This elaborate 2-3 story wagon filled with fireworks gets pulled through the streets of Florence by white oxen on Easter Sunday. It stops in front of the Duomo, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, and is set ablaze.
Every Easter hundreds of spectators watch in awe as the fireworks light up the streets of Florence in a beautiful celebration.
3. France – 15,000 Egg Omelet
In southwestern France, in the small village of Bessieres, a gigantic omelet fit to feed thousands of people is whipped up on Easter Monday. And yes, this omelet consists of 15,000 eggs!
The tradition is less than half a century old, but its origin goes back to the time of Napoleon Bonaparte.
As the story goes, Napoleon loved his first taste of an omelet in the village and ordered the locals to cook a massive one to feed his army.
4. Verges, Spain – Death Dance
On holy Thursday, the Catalan town of Verges chooses 5 residents to dress up in skeleton costumes and perform Dansa de La Mort or “Dance of Death”. As part of the tradition, the residents carry sickles while dancing to drums.
5. Sweden – Easter Witches
This tradition has a strong resemblance to the American tradition of trick-or-treating for Halloween.
The Thursday before Easter Sunday Swedish children dress up as adorable little witches, carry brooms, and go door-to-door to their neighbors collecting treats.
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