Humans are weird creatures who dream up unusual ways to celebrate holidays. Since today is Easter, I decided to explore ten strange Easter traditions from around the world! The great thing about holidays is that there is no wrong way to celebrate anything. But I think it’s perfectly okay to admit when the way we celebrate something is bizarre.
1. Czech Easter Whipping
I grew up in the Czech Republic, so I just had to start with whipping on this list of strange Easter traditions. Basically, boys will make whips out of pussy willow sticks, and they will whip women (lightly) to make them fertile. Women will thank them by giving them fresh eggs. It sounds sexist, and some are against this tradition; however, it remains dear to many Czechs. You can read more about Czech Easter whippings here.
2. German Egg Throwing
Neighboring the Czech Republic, Germans may find their neighbor’s whipping tradition a little strange. They prefer to turn their Easters filled with games, such as throwing eggs. According to Reuters, Germans like to throw hard-boiled decorated eggs as far as they can. Whoever can throw their egg the farthest without breaking it will win a prize such as a chocolate egg! It sounds wasteful, but the Germans have that covered too. Broken eggs get left for birds to feast on!
3. Russian Butter Lambs – Strange Easter Traditions
A little east of the Czech Republic and Germany, Russians have their own strange Easter traditions. Butter is considered a religious symbol all over the world. In the USA, lambs are often eaten for Christmas, while Czechs like to bake lamb-shaped cakes. In Russia, Easter isn’t complete without a lamb-shaped butter. It dates back to ancient times when it was considered a lucky omen to meet a lamb.
4. Swedish Easter Witches
For most of the world, witches are associated with Halloween. In Sweden, however, they are part of their strange Easter traditions. On Maundy Thursday, young girls dress as Easter hags, or as the Swedes call them, påskkärringar. According to Swedish tradition, witches flew to a fictional island that can only be reached by magical flight. They would go there to frolic with Satan, as one does during a Christian holiday.
5. Australian Chocolate Bilby
Chocolate bunnies or even saints are not uncommon around the world. In Australia, however, the Easter chocolate of choice is the bilby. A bilby is a small rabbit-sized marsupial that happens to be endangered. Creating chocolate bilbies is a way for Australia to help raise awareness and funds for these adorable creatures.
6. Florence Easter Fireworks – Strange Easter Traditions
Fireworks are common to celebrate the New Year or July 4th in the USA. In Florence, they are also used to celebrate Easter. The Florentines practice a folk tradition called Scoppio Del Carro or “Explosion of the Cart”. An antique 30-foot tall cart has been used to create a magical firework display for over 500 years. I could describe it more, but it’s easier just to show you how it looks.
7. French Oversized Omelette
Bigger is not always better, but sometimes, a special occasion requires something a little extra. Easter in France wouldn’t be the same without a giant omelette. The residents of Haux, France, spend Easter Monday create an omelette out of over 4,500 eggs in a giant pan! It serves over 1,000 people, and it is definitely not a hoax.
8. Hungarian Water Splashing
Everyone loves a good water fight! Hungary is the place to go to enjoy getting splashed. Just like in the Czech Republic, it is the men who splash women. It dates back to pagan times and has a similar theory to their Czech and Slovak neighbors. Sometimes the water can be replaced with a sprinkle of perfume. Either way, it definitely belongs on this list of strange Easter traditions!
9. Greek Rocket Wars
Greeks are known for their dangerous traditions, such as plate throwing. They turn things up a notch for Easter and engage in Roukettopolemos, or rocket wars. In the town of Vrontados, on the island of Chios, the two rival churches of St. Mark’s and Panaghia Ereithiani are built on hilltops 400 meters from each other. Homemade fireworks are used, and the goal is to hit the opponent church’s bell tower. Both churches and nearby buildings have to be boarded up and protected with metal sheets!
10. Papua New Guinea Tobacco Trees
Move over chocolate; Papua New Guinea prefers tobacco to cocoa. Chocolate isn’t much use in Papua New Guinea’s steamy jungles, so Easter trees at the front of churches are decorated with sticks of tobacco and cigarettes instead. These are handed out after the service.
Summary: Strange Easter Traditions
Strange Easter traditions are what make the world more interesting! It is amazing that holidays that are celebrated worldwide can be enjoyed in so many different ways. What’s your favorite way to celebrate Easter? Do you prefer to eat strange food, participate in dangerous activities, or get your BDSM on?
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