Easter is a great time for celebration, whether you’re going to a church service, enjoying a long weekend away, cooking a big Sunday feast or stuffing your face with chocolate eggs. And if you can’t be with your family in person this Easter, it’s also the perfect time to send a little extra money home to your loved ones.
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6 cracking Easter traditions
Here in the UK, kids get through a calorie-busting average of 8.8 Easter eggs every year. But it’s not all about chocolate – elsewhere, celebrations range from cooking giant omelettes to smashing giant pots:
As well as chocolate eggs and roast lamb, Hungary also has a quirkier Easter custom: “locsolkodás” (sprinkling). Originally part of a pagan tradition to encourage spring rains to help with a successful harvest, this bizarre Easter Monday institution sees young men dousing women with perfume, cologne or water as part of a wet ‘n’ wild pre-Christian fertility rite. Dousing over, the men are offered a drink before moving on to the next lucky lady!
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
In the town of Haux, in southwest France, Easter Monday is a major eggstravaganza, as chefs take over the main square to cook up a giant 5,000-egg omelette fit to feed 1,000 lucky locals. The origins of the event are a bit scrambled, but the story goes that when Napoleon and his army were passing through, the general ordered the townsfolk to create a massive egg dish to feed his hungry troops.
Spain is a deeply Catholic country and one of the most dramatic Easter events takes place in Seville. The southern city has been holding its Semana Santa celebrations since the 16th century – and it’s an incredible sight. Some 50,000 people don traditional robes and join one of 58 different processions from churches throughout the city, with the Costaleros (statue bearers) parading pasos (religious statues) on their shoulders.
Swedish Easter (Påsk) is a secular event – the fact that many local kids dress up as witches and go door-to-door on a Halloween-style sweet hunt is a clear sign that the origins of the spring festival predate Christianity. But why the witch outfits? According to folklore, the Thursday before Easter (skärtorsdag) is the day when all the witches fly off on broomsticks to cavort with the devil at a legendary meadow named Blåkulla.
Easter morning in Corfu kicks off with a traditional Mass, but come 11am the church bells ring out and the island’s peace is shattered as the tradition of “Pot Throwing” gets underway. Locals hurl earthenware pots off balconies and out of windows, shattering them on the streets below. The custom comes from the Venetian New Year’s Day tradition of throwing old things out of the window in the hope of receiving shiny replacements.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
6. Czech Republic
Easter traditions don’t get much weirder or more uncomfortable than Monday in the Czech Republic, where groups of men traditionally go around “spanking” women with a pomlázka (from pomladit or “make younger”) – a braided whip made from pussywillow twigs and bedecked with colourful ribbons. The willow is the first tree to bloom in the spring, and the branches are believed to transfer vitality and fertility – and possibly a sore backside!
Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing this weekend, have an eggcellent time and Happy Easter from everyone at Azimo!