Are you looking to change things up this Easter and introduce some fun, new traditions? There are so many interesting rituals that cultures from around-the-world practice during Easter weekend. From giant omelettes to flying in the park, here are the top eight traditions from around the world to incorporate into your yearly celebrations.
1. Giant omelettes
In the town of Bessières, France, they have an interesting strategy to feed the community on Easter Monday morning. Dozens of cooks gather around a giant pan in the town square and crack 15,000 eggs to create a massive omelette to feed the entire town; and whoever comes through for a visit.
Legend states that this tradition began when Napolean travelled through southern France and visited the local inn and ordered an omelette. He enjoyed it so much that he asked for an enormous omelette to be prepared for his army the next day.
From 1973 onwards, the town has been serving free portions of their giant omelette to the townsfolk. The tradition has since expanded worldwide, with select cities and towns across the globe serving up their spin on the giant omelette.
This could be a great way to start Easter morning for your family, but perhaps you could start with five or 10 eggs before you move on to the thousands.
2. Egg battle
In many countries, eggs are a big part of Easter. Whether it’s an Easter egg hunt or more art-based practices like egg painting, many Easters involve Albert Einstein’s favourite breakfast item. In some Polish traditions, they’ve transformed Easter into a battle for familial supremacy.
The ritual begins on Saturday. Each family member gets one hardboiled egg and paints it in their own style. Then, on the morning of Easter Sunday, family members pair up, face each other with the narrow tips of their eggs, and knock their eggs together on the count of three. Whoever’s egg cracks, loses; and the remaining contenders pair up until one egg is left unscathed.
This is a great way to introduce some family fun and excitement to Easter Sunday morning, especially for the more competitive families. It also involves an artistic and strategic element, with some participants fortifying their shell with extra paint in certain areas of the hardboiled egg. For more fun family games, click here.
3. A nice bonfire
One of the most pleasant things in life is a warm and cosy outdoor fire in your garden with family. In some parts of Germany, they take this idea to another level.
Spring in northern Germany coincides with seasonal hedge trimming, so they have ritualised the process of piling their trimmings in a safe area and lighting them on fire in a Holy Saturday or Easter Sunday celebration with beer, mulled wine, and of course, grilled meats. They call the tradition Easter Bonfires or Osterfeuer.
While some have criticised the tradition due to its adverse effects on animals and potential to initiate forest fires, the practice carries on to this day.
For your family, it could be a great yearly tradition for a clear night, especially because temperatures start to warm up around Easter, but they’re still cool enough to enjoy a nice, warm bonfire.
4. Costume party
Many countries around the world dress up in costumes during Easter weekend. Some take scarier angles, like the zinc-masked locals in Prizzi, Italy or the skeletons of Verges, Spain; but perhaps the most light-hearted costumes come from Finland.
On Easter Saturday in western Finland and Palm Sunday in other regions, children (especially girls) participate in Easter Witches. The kids dress up as a witches – complete with makeup – and walk from door-to-door with willow twigs decorated with colourful feathers and crepe paper, while reciting a customary poem to ward-off evil spirits. For all their hard work, they receive treats from the households.
While you might not be interested in walking from door-to-door during Easter, it could be fun to dress up for Easter every year. Some fun costume ideas could be: country-based traditional wear, shorts and t-shirts to signify the beginning of spring (no matter the temperature), or one specific colour for all family members.
Hide-and-seek is a game played by kids everywhere, but on some Portuguese islands, they’ve spun the traditional game into a two-week ordeal.
While Easter is a quite serious religious occasion in Portugal, on the weeks leading up to the festivities, the residents of Madeira – especially the kids – play Balamento. The goal of the game is to be the first person to say, “Balamento” to your opponent each day. Competitors will agree on a timeframe (sometimes up to two weeks, but traditionally eight to 10 days), and keep track of the score until Easter Monday. The loser supplies the winner with sugar cubes, or more recently, sweet chocolate almonds. While each person can choose their strategy, most involve hiding or sneaking up on their opponents to catch them off-guard.
While the practice seems to be dying out in Madeira, it’s the type of game that could easily bring some fun to the days leading up to Easter, and traditions like this are sure to build strong familial bonds for years.
6. Splash zone
For some reason, a couple of specific countries in Eastern Europe celebrate Easter in water-based ways. While the traditions are similar, they have distinct reasons for their practice.
Śmigus-dyngus, also known as Wet Monday in Poland, is a ritual in which guys dump buckets of water on girls. Sometimes the soaking begins before you get out of bed, so it’s best to get out of bed early. The girl who gets soaked the most is said to be the next one to get married. The next day, it’s the girls’ turn to soak the guys. The tradition has evolved into a full-on, day-long water fight, where anyone and everyone is at risk of getting soaked. Maybe leave your laptop at home if you’re out on Wet Monday in Poland.
On Easter Monday in Hungary, people dress in traditional clothing while the guys recite poems for girls – and finish the poem by sprinkling the girls with perfume or water. The sprinkling is supposed to provide the girls with the purifying properties of water and help with fertility. This too has developed into full-on water fights, so be careful if you visit Hungary during Easter.
While soaking your family members in their beds might not be recommended, water fights on Easter weekend sound like a blast, and could be a great family building exercise – as long as it’s not too cold outside.
7. Celebrate with art
Art comes in all-shapes and styles, and in Central America, Easter is a time for art, especially in Antigua, Guatemala – and a few neighbouring countries.
Since 1524, the locals have been creating unique carpets made from dyed sawdust during their Holy Week, called Semana Santa. The designs can depict certain religious tropes – or just interesting designs – but they’re always quite colourful. Palm leaves or flowers are placed on top as the final addition before the townspeople take a walk on the carpets as part of the celebration. While the carpets used to be quite small, they now span entire city blocks, with the locals spending up to a week to create their beautiful work.
If you’re looking to get your family into art, this could be the perfect way to do something artistic, while having a low-key Easter weekend. For some more interesting art and hobby products for this Easter click here.
8. Fly a kite
Perhaps the most unique and child-friendly tradition on the list, the residents of the small island of Bermuda design, create, and fly homemade kites on Good Friday.
While they start their day with codfish and English-style hot cross buns, their minds might be preoccupied with the kite they’ve been perfecting for weeks. They then rush out to tie their kite up and let it fly all day. Traditionally, kites were tied up around 3pm, but nowadays, the earlier you can get your kite up, the better. Some kites flaunt wonderful intricate patterns, while others are designed to hum or buzz, through the use of glued paper.
This would be a great way to get the family out of the house after a big Easter meal, or you could try to do it like the Bermudians, and tie it off somewhere in your garden. Either way, it’s sure to bring some joy to your little ones.
Whether you’re looking to bring some excitement to your family’s Easter weekend, or simply looking for a fresh tradition, there are so many practices to choose from. Try one today and enjoy your Easter weekend!
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