Easter is fast approaching, and although originally purely a Christian holiday, many different cultures and countries have their own customs and traditions. Here are some of our favourite global Easter traditions. Tell us your favourite Easter traditions that you share with your family and friends in the comments below.
Many of the North Eastern states of India celebrate Easter with elaborate arrangements. It is often custom to buy beautifully and intricately decorated Easter eggs for children as gifts. Goa is one of the best Easter holiday destinations in India. In Goa, there are street plays, songs, and dances throughout Easter, alongside colourful carnivals. Brightly coloured lanterns are also exchanged to celebrate.
Celebrating Easter in Bermuda primarily consists of kites and cakes. On Good Friday, Bermudian locals fly homemade kites to symbolise Christ’s ascension. Food traditions for Bermuda include the British classic, the hot cross bun. They also are known for enjoying salted cod fishcakes.
Easter in Sweden is generally celebrated as a secular holiday. Focusing on their culinary festivities, it is customary to celebrate Easter with a meal of eggs, herring and Jansson’s Temptation: a potato dish made with onions and pickled sardines, then baked in cream. Leading up to Easter Sunday, some children dress up as Easter witches, donning old and discarded clothes. They go around their local neighbourhoods and trade their drawings and paintings for sweets.
In Corfu, Holy Saturday includes a traditional ‘Pot Throwing’ custom. Exactly as it’s name suggests, on Holy Saturday, people throw pans, pans and other kitchenware out of their windows! The origin of this tradition is not exactly known, but its influence is thought to be derivative of the Venetian tradition of throwing out their old items on New Year’s Day. Symbolically, ‘Pot Throwing’ represents the welcoming of spring with the new crops that will be gathered in the new pots.
Norway has a particularly mysterious Easter tradition, literally. Easter is a popular time for Norwegians to read crime novels and ‘Easter Thrillers’, which are known as Passkekrimmen. Apparently, this tradition was only started in 1923 when a book publisher promoted their crime novel on the front pages of newspapers that led people to believe that it was news!
Easter festivities in Spain start on Maundy Thursday with the tradition ‘dansa de la mort’. Translated as the death dance, the ‘Baile de la muerte’ is a Spanish performance re-enacting the scenes from The Passion. Everyone dresses up in skeleton costumes and parades through Spanish streets. This rather dark dance begins at midnight and continues into the early hours of the morning.
A very popular Hungarian Easter tradition is ‘Sprinkling’. This custom is also known as Ducking Monday. On Easter Monday, Hungarian boys will sprinkle perfume or perfumed water on girls. Originally, Hungarian men would pour buckets of water over women. It is believed that the water is cleansing, healing and fertility-inducing.
Share your favourite Easter tradition in the comments below!