With Easter just around the corner you are probably preparing for whatever Easter tradition that your family celebrates. Most countries have their own variation of traditions for this holiday, from giant food to dressing up to Easter egg trees. Here are international Easter traditions that you probably haven’t heard of.
A strange Easter tradition in the small French town of Bessieres dates back to 1973. Every year on Easter Monday this town cooks a giant omelette that uses 15 thousand eggs and is 4 metres in diameter. About 50 people are required to help crack all of the eggs, which takes around an hour and a half, and cook the entire omelette – about half an hour to cook it.
This tradition is based on a story from the early 19th century when Napoleon Bonaparte stayed in the town and was cooked an omelette. He apparently enjoyed this omelette so much that he made the town gather up all their eggs and make him a giant one.
Another international Easter tradition that is very unusual is found in Sweden and dates back to the 1500’s. Some compare Sweden’s Easter tradition to Halloween as children dress up as “Easter witches” and go door knocking in their neighbourhood to swap drawings and paintings so that they might receive some lollies.
These witch costumes consisted of long skirts, painted bright red cheeks, and colourful headscarves. This Easter tradition comes from Pagan and Orthodox traditions that said witches flew over Sweden to the mountains over Easter weekend.
Corfu, an island in Greece, has an interesting Easter tradition that involves throwing pots, pans and other kitchenware made from clay out the window causing them to smash on the street. This takes place on the Saturday of the Easter weekend. The clay pots would also be filled with red ribbons while the houses would be decorated with red flowers.
This tradition is to symbolise the earthquake that occurred when Jesus Christ was resurrected. The pot-throwing was apparently adapted from a Venetian tradition where old items would be thrown and smashed on New Year’s Day.
The Easter tradition in Bulgaria is similar to the egg hunts that you may be used to but with one small twist – the eggs aren’t hidden, and they use them to fight. Bulgarians boil and colour eggs before the Easter weekend.
The first egg is also dyed red to symbolise good health and the oldest woman of the family will rub it on the children’s cheeks. This makes their cheeks go rosy to wish them strength and health.
On Easter Sunday, everyone takes their eggs and taps them against each other’s. Whoever’s egg remains unbroken is declared the ‘winner’ and considered to have good luck. The winner’s egg is kept until the next Easter as a sign of prosperity.
One of Germany’s Easter traditions involves something slightly reminiscent of a Christmas tree. Known as the Ostereierbaum, Germans decorate a tree every year with small, hand painted Easter eggs. Traditionally the eggs are hand blown by poking small holes in either end of the egg and blowing the white and yolk out.
The eggs are then rinsed and left to dry before being coated in watered-down glue to make them last longer. Once this is dry, they are ready to be painted and decorated! Here is a short tutorial on preparing them at home.
As well as eggs, this Easter tradition may also include interspersing little wooden figures of bunnies or smaller eggs throughout the branches.