Beyond its religious significance, Easter, like Christmas, is a time for family bonding and celebration. While the festival is mostly associated with colourful Easter eggs, the Easter rabbit and chocolates, there are communities who have put their own unique spin to a well-loved festival.
In Norway, families spend the day reading or solving murder mysteries. The tradition is called Påskekrim, which literally translates to ‘Easter Crime’. The whole country embraces the tradition fully, that even the milk cartons in the grocery stores have crime cartoons drawn onto them. No one is sure when or how the practice started, but many have attributed it to two crime novelists who wrote a fictional book in the 1920s on a clever robbery, set during the Easter break.
If you’re big on omelets, then head over to Haux, a southern French town, come Easter. Each year, a gigantic omelet that takes more than 4500 eggs to make will be served in the town’s main square. The story behind this tradition is Napoleon and his army stopped in a small town, and had omelets. He liked his so much that he commanded for the townspeople to gather all their eggs to make a giant omelet for his army the next day.
Nothing says ‘I adore you’ more than pouring buckets of water over the girls you like on Easter Monday. ‘Sprinkling’, also known as ‘Ducking Monday’ is a popular Hungarian Easter tradition where boys would playfully sprinkle perfume or perfumed water on girls they fancied. It is believed that water had a cleaning, healing and fertility-inducing effect.
Bermudans celebrate Easter by flying their extensively decorated and colourful kites, and competing to see who made the best kite for this celebration. The tradition originated from a teacher who was looking for a way to effectively demonstrate the ascension of Christ into heaven, came up with the idea of making a kite, decorated with an image of Jesus and flew it.
Easter in Scandinavian countries such as Finland, Denmark and Sweden feels a little like Halloween. In the old days, witches were believed to stir up mischief just before Easter, so instead of hunting for decorated eggs, the children today don old, oversized clothes and headscarves, and go door-to-door to get candies and chocolates from neighbours. They will carry around a decorated birch twig to ‘cast’ a good spell blessing the house, which will be given away when they receive candy.