When you think of Easter, colorful eggs and bunnies most likely come to mind. But there is more to this holiday than the hunting of eggs or receiving egg -shaped chocolates. Through the list of Easter traditions we have compiled here, you will realize that this holiday has pagan roots (this is true with almost all Christian customs). Read up on what many people from all over the world do over this holiday weekend.
1. Easter Eggs
Easter Eggs are easily the number 1 thing people these days think about when they think of Easter traditions. They are also the number 1 Easter project that many families do during this holiday. Decorating Easter eggs is a great tradition in Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and many other countries. These Easter Eggs, however, do not have Christian origins. Decorating Easter eggs is a pagan tradition that symbolizes the rebirth of the Earth. This tradition has existed for at least 2,500 years.
2. Easter Bunny
Another popular image associated with this holiday is the Easter Bunny. According to tradition, the Easter Bunny brings colorful eggs, toys, and candies to the homes of good kids. Much like what the man in a red suit does during Christmas, right? The origins of the Easter Bunny can be traced back to Alsace and the Upper Rhineland in the Holy Roman Empire. Before this custom blew up to what it is today, kids in these places would make nests in areas of their homes that are hidden. The Easter Bunny would then fill the nests with colorful eggs if the kids had been good.
3. Easter Whips
If you are from the Czech Republic or Slovakia, you would spend Easter holding or at the receiving end of a whip. A long-held tradition in this country involves men spanking women with a handmade whip. In the Czech Republic, the whip is called pomlázka while it is called korbáč in Slovakia. The whip is made of willow rods that have been braided. It is a meter or so long and has colored ribbons at the end. The women are not spanked hard by the men, of course. According to tradition, this whipping is done so that the women will remain healthy and beautiful all year long.
4. Butter Lamb
Butter lamb is a traditional Easter food for many Catholics in Poland. This is simply butter shaped like a lamb. Traditionally, this Easter meal addition is made by hand. These days, there are molds that can help one make this dish for the holiday. These days, there are many establishments, such as grocery stores and delis, that sell butter lambs for Easter. It has also become a symbol for the coming of spring in a particular market in Buffalo, New York.
5. Silent Bells
During Easter in The Netherlands, Belgium, and France, church bells are silent. Stories go that the bells in these churches fly out to Rome. They return on Easter with colored eggs and chocolates that are shaped like eggs or rabbits. In these countries, the day when these bells supposedly leave for Rome differ. In the Netherlands and parts of Belgium that speak Flemish, the bells leave on Saturday. In France and parts of Belgium that speak French, the bells fly out to Rome on Maundy Thursday.
6. Egg Rolling
Egg Rolling is a game that involves rolling an egg across the ground with a spoon. This game is played all over the world and has many versions. In the United States, the most popular Easter Egg Roll game is played in the White House lawn. This White House tradition was started in 1814. Today, the Easter Egg Roll in the White House has themes and celebrity guests. In the United Kingdom, the game is also called “pace-egging.” Their version involves rolling decorated Easter eggs down grassy hills. In Germany, the track where the eggs are rolled are made of stick.
7. Egg Tapping
This is another game associated with Easter. It is also called egg fight or egg knocking. In folk stories, the game is also called shackling, jarping, or dumping. If you play this game, you simply hold a hard-boiled egg and tap it into the egg of your opponent. Your aim is to break the egg of the other player without bringing damage to your own. Countries where this traditional Easter game or a similar version is played are India, Holland, Romania, Bulgaria Greece, and Afghanistan. In some places, egg fight is a serious competition.
8. Easter Kites
The flying of Easter kites is a tradition in Bermuda. These kites are typically hexagonal in shape. Some, however, can have 8 sides or even more. This is especially true with the larger Easter kites. Citizens of Bermuda fly these kites every Easter to symbolize that Christ has risen. Traditional kites are made of sticks that are laid out like the spokes of a wheel. Colored tissue paper is then glued into the spaces between the sticks. These days, there are ready-made kites that can be bought from stores. They are made of plastic.
9. Whodunnit Stories
Now this is a tradition that many lovers of investigative crime shows would love. In Norway, a modern Easter tradition involves reading and watching murder mysteries. Every Easter, TV networks show detective stories. Even the publishing world takes part in this fiction-inspired tradition with detective novels being released just before the holiday. Magazines also print stories where readers can figure out the persons of interest in a mystery. Milk cartoons are also utilized with short murder stories printed on their sides.
10. Explosion of the Cart
This is a folk tradition of Florence, Italy. Its pagan roots can be traced back to the practice of making noise in order to have a good harvest. These days, this Easter custom involves filling a cart with fireworks and then lighting it up. This event in Florence makes use of a cart that has been used for over 500 years. The antique cart is moved from Porta al Prato to the Piazza del Duomo. This explosion of the cart is said to ensure good harvest and good business.