Our Easter Traditions sound perfectly normal…to us anyway! We thought it would be fun (and educational of course) to explore Easter Traditions in other countries. Almost as interesting as the traditions themselves are the origins of the traditions, some dating back for centuries. Let’s start with us.
America – Rolling and Hiding
Children all over America typically receive gifts of eggs and candy delivered to their homes on Easter morning by the Easter Bunny; a tradition that came with German immigrants in the 1700s. The belief was that rabbits and eggs symbolize fertility and rebirth.
Finland – Begging and Burning
Children put soot on their faces, tie scarves around their heads, then go begging in the streets while carrying broomsticks, coffee pots and bunches of willow trees. In some parts of Western Finland, bonfires are burned, a practice that started from believing that the flames ward off witches who fly around on brooms between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Poland – Dousing and Marriage Predications
Referred to as Smingus-Dyngus, the boys in Poland try to soak other people (especially girls) with water. The water can literally be poured from buckets, squirt guns or hoses. The tradition, with origins linked to the baptism of Polish Prince Mieszko on Easter Monday in 966 AD, says girls who get soaked will marry within the year.
Haux, France – An Omelet on a Grand Scale
Leave it to the French to cook something spectacular. In Haux, a giant omelet is served up in the town’s main square. The omelet uses more than 4,500 eggs and feeds up to 1,000 people. The tradition gets its roots from when Napoleon and his army were traveling through the south of France, they stopped in a small town and ate omelets. Napoleon liked his so much that he ordered the townspeople to gather their eggs and make a giant omelet for his army the next day.
Corfu, Greece – Take Cover
People throw pots, pans and other earthenware out of their windows, smashing them on the street. A custom thought to derive from the Venetians, who on New Year’s Day used to throw out all of their old items. Others believe the throwing of the pots welcomes spring, symbolizing the new crops that will be gathered in the new pots.
Norway – Enjoy a Good Crime Thriller
Publishers come out with special “Easter Thrillers” known as Paaskekrimmen. The tradition is said to have started in 1923 when a book publisher promoted its new crime novel on the front pages of newspapers.
Visitors congregate in St. Peter’s Square for Mass to receive the Pope’s blessing from the church’s balcony, known as “Urbi et Orbi” (“To the City and to the World”). While on Good Friday the Pope commemorates the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) at the Colosseum. This is done by burning torches that light up the sky as Stations of the Cross are described in several languages.
Czech Republic and Slovakia – Be Advised
On Easter Monday, men (playfully) spank women with handmade whips made of willow and decorated with ribbons. According to legend, the willow is the first tree to bloom in the spring, so the branches are supposed to transfer the tree’s vitality and fertility to the women.
Verges, Spain – Dancing in the Streets
On Holy Thursday this Medieval town does the “dansa de la mort” or “death dance. Everyone dresses in skeleton costumes and parades through the streets to reenact The Passion.
Hungary Sprinkle and Smell
“Sprinkling,” is observed on Easter Monday, which is also known as “Ducking Monday.” Boys playfully sprinkle perfume or perfumed water on girls and ask for a kiss. People used to believe that water had a cleaning, healing and fertility-inducing effect.
At Alpine we have our own Easter Traditions which involve creating and serving some exceptional choices from our chef, baking cookies galore and celebrating with you. Please join us for Easter Weekend as we would love to become one of your Easter Traditions. CLICK HERE For MENU.