au pair

The Most Surprising Easter Traditions Worldwide

by AliceReading time: 4 min.
With Easter just around the corner, AuPair.com’s team would like to spread the Easter spirit among our community. As we are an international team, we love to share about customs and cultural features in different countries, and of course we don't want to keep our insights about Easter from you. Easter, also called "Pascha" or "Resurrection Day", is a Christian festival honoring the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. However, the modern English word “Easter” is related to the Dutch term “ooster” and the German term “Ostern”. It developed from an old English word that usually appears in the form "Ēastrun", referring to the month April. Even though Easter originated from countries where most of the population belongs to Christianity, nowadays it is spread all over the world. You might be already familiar with the most common Easter traditions, like egg hunting or decorating the easter eggs, but we bet that there are some rituals or customs you have never heard about. Let’s get started and dive deep into the most surprising Easter traditions!

1. Little Easter Witches in Sweden and Finland 

If you have been an Au Pair in Finland or Sweden you might know this tradition very well. Maybe you even helped to dress up your own Au Pair children as little Easter witches. Typically, on Palm Sunday they walk from house to house, wearing colorful clothes and painted freckles on the cheek. In order to receive a chocolate egg the children quote a blessing which is meant for protection of the residents against evil spirits. 

2. Eating Giant Omelets in France 

Many cultures associate Easter with eating eggs and enjoying different egg meals. The French have definitely taken it to the next level! In the French towns of Haux and Bessières people cook a giant omelet on Easter Monday, consisting of around 15,000 eggs for approximately 1,000 people. Apparently, this tradition originates in the Napoleonic period and has been practiced in towns all over the country since then.

3. Crime Time in Norway

Probably you are aware of the fact that Scandinavia is famous for fantastic crime TV shows as well as crime novels. You might have even watched some episodes of “The Bridge” or “Wallander” or read Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series. Norwegians use the Easter days in particular to retreat and read crime novels as well as watch crime movies. In addition, a large number of new crime novels are published in Norway before the Easter holidays.

 

4. Bonfires in Germany

The German custom of the “Easter Fires” is officially mentioned in 1559 for the first time but probably dates back to pre-Christian times. The fire symbolizes the sun as the center of human life and was created as a welcoming ritual for spring. In addition, it should benefit the next harvest as a sign of fertility and growth. Since it usually was the first gathering of a community after a long period of winter solitude, it gained importance over time. Nowadays, some communities organize little festivals with food trucks and funfair rides whereas others practice the ritual of the “Osterrad”. During this ritual a wooden wheel, stuffed with a lot of straw, is set on fire and pushed down a hill. 

 

5. Watering Monday in Eastern Europe 

If you find yourself in Eastern Europe on Easter Monday and you're a woman, make sure to take an umbrella with you! Somebody might soak you with a bucket full of water. Although people use different names for the day in Poland (Smigus-dyngus - Watering Monday), Czech Republic (Watering) and Hungary (Sprinkling) they all have the same origin. The custom refers to female fertility and was practiced in order “to cleanse” women for spring.

6. The Great Easter Bunny Hunt in New Zealand 

This might be a deterrent ritual for vegetarians and vegans, but in Alexandra, a town in the central Otago district in New Zealand, people go on a collective rabbit hunt. As in many other countries, rabbits are considered a plague in New Zealand since they are not a native species and have a harmful influence on the environment. Each year, around 10,000 rabbits get shot and the best hunter even receives a prize. 

7. Eating Chocolate Easter Bilbies in Australia

A not so cruel tradition is the one of eating chocolate bilbies in Australia. Down under, rabbits have the same negative reputation as in New Zealand. In 1991, Australia officially exchanged the Easter bunny with the Easter bilby. They belong to the group of bandicoots and are considered an endangered species even though they coexisted with the Aborigines for 20,000 years.

8. Vegan Fasting in Ethiopia 

Christians in Ethiopia practice a 55-day period of fasting, during which they do not consume any animal products. “Fasika”, the Amharic word for Easter, can be compared with the Lent in Western European churches. The fasting typically ends on Easter Sunday with people celebrating, eating and dancing together.

9. Flying Kites in Bermuda

The subtropical country Bermuda is surrounded by beautiful beaches. It is not far off that its inhabitants spend the Easter holiday close to the sea. People of all ages let their colorful, and mostly homemade, kites fly while enjoying delicious local codfish and deserts. The kites with a cross-structure portray Jesus' resurrection.

10. Colorful Outdoor Carpets in Guatemala 

If you find yourself in Southern Guatemala around the Easter holidays, specifically the town Antigua, you are able to admire astonishing colorful outdoor carpets. Created by local artists, they consist of flowers, fruits, vegetables, sand and colored sawdust. The carpets portray scenes which are referring to religion, Mayan culture and Guatemalan history. 
Moving to Spainby Enrique Jover Veloz on 16 Mar, 2023Read More »
Why Kids should play Sportsby Enrique Jover Veloz on 03 Apr, 2023Read More »
Some Thoughts...
Farag
Apr, 05, 2023 - 02:04 am
Happy Easter to everyone in everywhere
Leave a comment:
Join our community
AuPair.com is social - visit our social media accounts, join our community and receive latest updates from the Au Pairs' world
Subscribe to our newsletter:
Subscription as:
By signing up, you agree to receive communications from AuPair.com. You may withdraw your consent at any time.
Join us
Are you looking forward to starting the Au Pair program? AuPair.com will help you find your future Au Pair / Host Family.
Register with us and get to know what we can do for you:
Register as an Au Pair Register as a Family