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A look at Easter traditions around the world

Updated on March 28, 2011

I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how Easter is celebrated in different cultures.Here's what I came up with.

In Germany, Easter starts on Good Friday with the draping of the cross. On this day, people traditionally don't eat meat, so a typical dinner is fish, spinach and potatoes. The Easter egg hunt in Germany is just like the one in the US. The tradition was actually brought to the US by German immigrants. Another German Easter tradition is the Easter tree. Branches from a tree ( preferably pussy willow) are put into a large vase and decorated with different colored Easter eggs and little ornaments.

In Bermuda the most notable feature of the Easter celebration is the flying of kites to symbolize Christ’s ascent. Kites are constructed by Bermudians of all ages as Easter approaches, and are only flown at Easter. In addition to hot cross buns and Easter eggs, fish cakes are traditionally eaten in Bermuda at this time.

People in Scotland, Ireland and northern England traditionally roll decorated easter eggs down a steep hill.

Kids in Finland, Sweden and Denmark dress up like witches and go door to door to collect candy in exchange for decorated pussy willows.This is a result of the mixing of an old Orthodox tradition (blessing houses with willow branches) and the Scandinavian Easter witch tradition.

One of the strangest customs I came across during my research takes place in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary where there is a tradition of spanking or whipping women on Easter Monday. Men throw water at females and spank them with handmade whips made of willow and decorated with ribbons at the end. The spanking is supposed to be symbolic and according to legend, females should be spanked in order to keep their health and beauty during the next year. The tradition is wide spread and you can even buy pre-made whips or special wooden spoons that can be used to hit your loved ones.

In France more than 4,500 eggs are used to cook up a giant omelet. The meal must feed up to 1,000 people and is prepared in the main square in time for lunch.

In Poland people traditionally make a lamb entirely out of butter. However, this is not just a decoration as people all around Poland actually consume the lamb on Easter. It should be consumed from the tail, leaving the head as last.

The Easter bunny is the most popular symbol of Easter thanks to the Americans, but over in Australia they prefer to use their native marsupial, the Bilby.

Happy Easter!


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