Since its ancient origins in the Christian church, people have observed the festival of Easter with such a diversity of traditions. From Orthodox to Catholics, from Scandinavians to Latin Americans, everyone has a different way to celebrate this holiday of springtime and rejuvenation. Here are just some of the unique customs found across the world:
1) In Argentina, people customarily substitute fish and seafood for their regular staple of meat. Families will often enjoy a large barbecue and even local treasure hunts sponsored by the local government. The Rosca de Pascua is a delicious bread ring baked with maraschino cherries just for this holiday.
2) The Saturday before Easter Sunday, Greeks will promenade their way to church with unlit candles, chanting “Christ is Risen!” After their candles are blessed by a priest, the festivities erupt with fireworks and resounding bells.
3) In Lebanon, with more than half of its population Christians, Easter is a time for impressive and colorful celebration. Decorations, bunnies, eggs, and chocolate line the shops and houses of believers. Families share lamb and maamoul (sugared semolina cookies) together, and children decorate candles with ribbons and flowers.
4) In Sweden, children dress up as good witches and exchange letters for eggs, sweets, and coins. At the end of the day, they roll their eggs down roof tiles to see which can go the farthest without cracking.
5) In Croatia and Slovenia, a basket of food stuffed with bread, colored eggs, ham, horseradish and potica nut cake is taken to the local church and blessed.
6) The USA is the only country to have an official holiday mascot, the Easter bunny, who passes out gifts and sweets to children.
7) In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, men will fashion whips from willow rods and bright ribbons, and mock-whip their women. In some areas, men will instead throw a bucket of cold water on them. Revenge is suitably enacted the following day, when the woman pours a bucket of cold water on the man. In Poland, this day, so-called Dyngus Day, has evolved into an all-day water fight.
And whatever the destination, everyone seems to love eggs.
Know any unique Easter celebrations from other cultures? Feel free to comment!