For most Americans, Easter is time to dye eggs, indulge in some sweets, and attend church. If you happen to be lucky enough to get a ticket to the White House, maybe you’ll even participate in the Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn! While those Easter traditions may be familiar to Americans, take a look at how other countries celebrate the holiday.
- Easter in Sweden can look like the American version of Halloween. It is customary for children to dress up as Easter Witches, comprised of oversized skirts and shawls. With copper kettles in-hand, children look to trade paintings and drawings for sweets around town. The Easter tradition is based off of a belief that witches would fly to Germany on the Thursday before Easter and thus, the Swedes created bonfires and firework displays to ward off the spirits’ return.
- Easter Sunday in Bermuda is mostly celebrated much like we do in America. But one unique tradition on the island is the bright and colorful kites that take to the skies on Good Friday. Though there is no certain explanation, the most common story is that the kites represent Christ’s ascension to heaven. The preparation of the kites can often take months, allowing spectator to enjoy the flying artwork along with codfish cakes and warm hot cross buns.
- Hungry? If you can make it to France, you’re in luck. Towns like Haux and Bessières take pride in creating giant egg omelettes, large enough to feed 1,000+ people. Legend has it that Napoleon Bonaparte stopped for dinner in the area and ordered an omelet. Overjoyed with the meal from the night prior, the Emperor asked the townspeople to gather their eggs and prepare one massive omelet for his army regime. The largest omelet consisted of 15,000 eggs and was created in 2016 in Bessières on Easter Monday, a day that represents sharing and friendship among the community.
- Easter is a massive celebration for Bulgarians, spanning multiple days and rivaling Christmas as the most beloved holiday of the year. In Bulgaria, the primary purpose of eggs is not to hide them or eat chocolate imitations. Instead, eggs are meant for family fights! Known as a “Good Luck Crack,” family members try to crack each other’s hard-boiled eggs by tapping with the narrow side. Win and you are believed to be the most successful family member in the coming year. (And even if you lose, you can still enjoy the egg!)
- Cyprus celebrates Easter in a number of way, spanning Thursday through Sunday. On Holy Saturday, a joyful mood takes over in anticipation of Pascha Sunday. During the day, neighborhood boys are tasked with collecting scraps of wood to create a communal bonfire that blazes in the courtyard of churches as the “Good Word” is proclaimed at midnight. The celebration concludes as families celebrate together with large feasts, with lamb often being served as a representation of ancient Jews who sacrificed lambs for Passover.
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