If you’re in the UK, you may have seen or perhaps bought a batch of hot-cross buns to enjoy on Good Friday or have a few chocolate eggs stashed in your cupboard ready to delight your children on Easter Sunday. These Easter traditions, symbolic of the Christian faith, are pretty well-known to us. However, around the world, other cultures are engaging in different, less familiar and perhaps sometimes a little more eccentric customs to mark this period in the year. Below we share six of these wonderfully weird Easter traditions:
Eggs cracking in Serbia
Eggs are an important feature of a traditional Serbian Easter. Like us, they enjoy decorating them and hold competitions for the most beautiful ones.
On Easter Sunday, Serbian families break their fast after returning from church by eating these Easter eggs. They start by playing a game of ‘tucanje’, which involves cracking the eggs against each other. The one whose egg doesn’t break is believed to be blessed with good luck.
Butter Lamb in Russia, Slovenia and Poland
We’re used to serving lamb for Easter lunch in the UK. It is seen as a symbol of the sacrifice of Jesus (The Lamb of God) made on Good Friday. It is also considered a lucky omen to meet a lamb. However, in Russia, Slovenia and Poland, they carve their lamb out of butter, using peppercorns or dried cloves for eyes and a red ribbon tied around it to symbolise the blood of Christ. This tradition is also now commonly found in the United States, brought over by Catholic immigrants.
Whip-cracking in the Czech Republic
In the Czech Republic, Easter is a time to spend with family and friends, wishing them good health. However, these wishes are not delivered in the standard way. Instead, they use a willow stick or ‘pomlázka’, decorated with ribbons, to whip girls lightly on the legs. ‘Pomlázka’ comes from the word ‘pomladit’, which means to make younger.
Crime time in Norway
For the Norwegians, Easter is a time for crime. They take more days than most off during this period and split this time between skiing in the mountains and reading or watching crime stories (or Påskekrims) in their cabins. This tradition is said to have come from an impressive advertising campaign for a new crime novel that was publicised over Easter in 1923. The ad was so realistic that many didn’t realise it was fiction. The book was a massive success, and the custom of reading crime stories over Easter began.
A giant omelette in France
In the southwest of France, the town of Bessières celebrates Easter by cooking up a giant omelette. The locals are said to buy up to 15,000 eggs to create this ‘egg-traordinary’ feast cooked in one huge pot by around 50 volunteers and served for the whole community to enjoy. This tradition has been carried out since 1973 in recognition of a visit by Napoleon Bonaparte. After enjoying a delicious omelette in a local inn, Napoleon is reported to have ordered a giant one for his army.
Cigarettes in Papua New Guinea
The heat and humidity in Papua New Guinea make chocolate eggs impractical and less than appealing. Therefore, these traditional Easter gifts have been replaced by cigarettes and tobacco packets, which are hidden in trees around the church for the congregation to find after the service – a less than healthy custom, but one which is said to increase attendance nonetheless!
Mission Translate would like to wish you all a Happy Easter and to enjoy your celebrations, whatever they may be!
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