Children from the United States grow up waiting for the Easter bunny to deliver eggs and candy, but when crossing the ocean, nations from around the world compete in the weirdest traditions. These practices include eating turtles and iguanas, waiting for the bilby instead of the bunny or women getting whipped by men. The week debuts with Palm Sunday and continues with Good Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, depending on the country’s customs. Also, while Catholics and Protestants gather around churches and celebrate the resurrection of Christ, others indulge in chocolate bunnies or celebrate by rolling eggs.
The White House has 136 years of tradition when it comes to the Easter egg roll, and this year makes no exception. The celebration which includes sports courts, live music, cooking stations and storytelling will be held on Monday, April 21 and the theme will be “Hop into Healthy, Swing into Shape.” As interesting as rolling the eggs might be, around the world there are Easter traditions that are perceived as weird and uncommon. For example, in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, women get whipped as part of the tradition. However, the whipping is not intended to be painful and it is believed that this custom makes women more beautiful and healthy. According to the legend, the whips made of willow represent the first tree to blossom during this season, so the branches also bring women the tree’s fertility and vitality.
The weirdest Easter traditions from around the world stop in Finland, where children go begging in the streets, carrying broomsticks, bunches of willow twigs and coffee pots. In some parts of the country, people burn bonfires on Sunday, because it is believed that flames scare away witches who fly around on brooms during this weekend. Also, children dress up as witches and go from door to door in order to receive sweets. Although this Easter tradition might look like a genuine Halloween celebration, the two holidays are not related.
Haux, France celebrates the upcoming holiday in a unique way: one day after the celebration, a giant omelet made of over 4,500 eggs is served up in the town’s main square and can feed up to 1,000 people. This tradition stems from Napoleon’s time, when the leader and his army stopped in a small town in the south of France and ate omelets. According to the legend, Napoleon liked the omelet so much that he ordered all people to gather their eggs and make a giant omelet for him and his army the next day.
In Australia, the Eastern bunny has transformed into a bilby, an animal which brings children chocolate. Because rabbits destroy the crops and have no natural predator, Australians have decided to replace them with an endangered species, namely the bilby. While Australia may have its own interpretation of Easter, in Colombia, the dinner menu for this celebration consists of turtles, iguanas and big rodents. In Hungary, women get a water splash on Monday, but nowadays young men spray perfume or cologne and then ask for a kiss. Easter is an important celebration and, while some countries dedicate it to Christ’s resurrection, other nations from around the world choose to indulge in rather weird traditions, but which are very meaningful in their own way.
By Gabriela Motroc