If you stop and think about it, Easter traditions are, well…pretty strange. Firstly, there’s the large, friendly rabbit that delivers treats to children. Then there are the multicolored eggs hidden around the yard. And how about the egg rolling contest on the White House lawn each year? Of course, none of that even touches on the holiday’s religious origins. In other locations around the world, they have their own, equally offbeat Easter traditions. From water throwing in Poland to chocolate bilbies in Australia, learn more about these five quirky ways to honour the holiday.
The Czech Republic and Slovakia
Watch out if you’re a woman travelling to the Czech Republic or Slovakia during Easter, you may want to keep an eye out. In both these countries, men fashion “whips” out of willow branches and ribbons and use them to gently smack women and girls – supposedly, in order to make them more beautiful. They don’t hit hard, but still this is one tradition we’ll pass on, thanks.
In a tradition that supposedly goes all the way back to Napoleon, the people of Haux, a village in the southwest of France, celebrate Easter not by hunting for eggs but by breaking them. Specifically using 4,500 of them, in order to make an omelette of massive proportions. Several chefs are needed, armed with long, wooden paddles, to stir the giant skillet in the village center, which gets divided up among the hungry residents.
Halloween happens on October 31st each year, right? In Finland, the locals actually seem more intent on celebrating it on Easter, if their traditions are anything to go by. During the holidays children dress up as witches, with coloured faces and brooms. Bonfires are also burned, as it’s thought that the flames will keep away witches on Easter weekend.
In addition to the Czech Republic and Slovakia, women may also want to avoid travelling to Poland during the Easter holidays. There, people celebrate Smingus-Dyngus, which sees women doused in buckets of water or sprayed with perfume. The Polish also say that family patriarchs cannot take part in preparing the Easter feast, as it will turn their moustaches gray. Hmm, we’re dubious about that one.
Imagine a rabbit, a mouse, and a fox put together. Got it? The image you’ve got in your head likely resembles a bilby, or an endangered Australian marsupial. Around this time of year, it’s important to recognize the creature if you’re travelling Down Under. After all, their Easter chocolates are shaped like bilbies and not bunnies.
Feature Image: Easter Eggs © Chris Brown
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