With Easter right around the corner, every grocery and convenience store is drowning in pastel-colored bunnies, Cadbury eggs, Easter baskets, and egg dying kits. In the Christian tradition, Easter is the day Jesus was resurrected after being crucified and buried. But many Easter traditions today are centered on the arrival of spring, and like every other holiday, different cultures have very different (and sometimes, peculiar) traditions.
A single tree makes this German city famous during the Easter season. The tree is garnished with thousands (and by thousands I mean upwards of 9,000) eggs that are decorated with incredible detailing and colors. The yearly spectacle is carried out by a prominent family in the city. This is just one example of decorating an ornate Easter tree, called Osterbaum. This tradition is also followed by many other Germans on a smaller scale; for example, using smaller trees or bushes decorated with painted wood eggs.
Påskekrim, or “Easter crime,” is a tradition in which Norwegians read and consume “crime culture” during Holy Week. This tradition penetrates every channel and mode of communication: bookstores feature crime novels, newspapers run supplementary crime literature, and radio and television channels run crime shows. The connection between crime and Easter is somewhat blurry, but many believe it has to do with an ad placed in the newspaper in 1923 by a publisher promoting his author’s new crime novel. Since the ad appeared as a headline on the front page, fear was evoked in the readers and since then Easter has been associated with crime.
Big part of Australia’s Easter tradition is celebrating “Pancake Tuesday.” This takes place the Tuesday before Lent, which many cultures observe as Mardi Gras. Obviously, Australians eat a copious amount of pancakes on this day,and don’t forget the side of hot cross buns.
Guyanans create a truly beautiful display in wide open public places every Easter Sunday and Monday. Residents fill the skies with colorful homemade kites, something that is usually only practiced on this particular holiday. People across all religions participating in the celebration.
The largest celebration of the Polish-American holiday Dyngus Day takes place in Buffalo, New York. To call it lively is a vast understatement. Residents enjoy music, dancing, drinking, and eating through the entire week, but Easter Monday is the time to really experience the madness of it all. Anything and everything Polish can be found in the city’s Polonia district, including polka music, kielbasa, pierogi, and sauerkraut. The celebration also includes the traditional Polish water fights!
What started out as a tradition of playfully sprinkling holy water onto unmarried women has, with time, turned into an all-out water fight that takes place on Easter Monday. It’s a little strange that the water fights take place the day after Easter, when families come together over a massive feast and wish each other health and happiness for the rest of the year. The Polish often have a lamb-shaped centerpiece for their Easter table, in the form of a cake or even butter.
Citizens of this southwestern city in France show off their ability to eat on Easter Monday by devouring a massive omelette. Ambitious chefs from around the city take over the city square to fry up the egg creation that provides lunch for about 1,000 people. Last year, the omelette included 5,200 eggs, 21 quarts of oil, and 110 pounds of fillings. It came out to an enormous 10 feet in diameter. This is a fairly new tradition going back about three decades, but some believe it stemmed from a demand made by Napoleon Bonaparte to curate a giant egg dish for his soldiers as they were passing through the countryside.
Corfiots, an island situated off the northwestern coast of Greece, doesn’t exactly follow the traditional Greek Orthodox Church’s Easter traditions. On Holy Saturday, the day before Easter, citizens in the city center drop water-filled clay pots over balconies onto the main streets.
Hungarians also practice the tradition of sprinkling water on one other during Easter. The origins of it here differ, though. It started off as pouring a bucket of cold water over girls of a marriageable age. The tradition has evolved into men visiting women’s homes to sprinkle them.
The community of Ayacucho celebrates not only Easter Sunday, but also the 10 days leading up to it. Some activities include traditional ritual processions, music, dancing, temporary markets, and fireworks.. The city as a whole is very devout, it even has 33 churches, one for each year of Jesus’s life. The activities are balanced with a rich feast including roasted guinea pig meat and regional beer made from fermented maize.