As Easter approaches, its that time for most of us to stuff our faces with mountains of chocolate or endure countless photos of cute little bunnies. We all enjoy the fun aspect of Easter, but it is easy to forget it is the second biggest religious holiday in the Christian calendar. In the UK it is tradition for families to gather for a meal on Easter Sunday after visiting church. Chocolate Easter eggs are distributed and eaten generously, along with the odd hot cross bun and egg hunt. So, what about the rest of the world? We take a look at what other weird and wonderful traditions are celebrated in our Localizing Easter blog
France – Ultra omelette
The French celebrate Easter Monday by serving up a giant omelette. The gargantuan gastronomic treat is cooked using 110 pounds of bacon, giant onions, 5,000 eggs and plenty of garlic to create a monster of an omelette eaten by the village of Haux, Gironde. This tradition is relatively recent as it was only started around 30 years ago, but is thought to trace back to a tale where Napoleon demanded a giant egg dish for his troops.
New Zealand – Killing bunnies
Our Localizing Easter entries take a dark turn as we travel to New Zealand. Yes, the iconic, cute, fluffy friends normally marketed as a symbol of joy at Easter, are classed as pests in New Zealand. In Central Otago an annual competition, which is now in it’s 27th year, sees a mass of hunters gather to hunt for a 24-hour period, the aim is to kill as many bunnies as possible. The record so far for bunnies killed so far stands at 23,000. Not a tradition we would want to take part in.
Italy – Virgin Mary Sprinting
In Sulmona based in the Abruzzo region of Southern Italy, the procession of La Madonna Che Scappa (The Dashing Madonna) is held on Easter Sunday. People carry statues of Saint John, Saint Peter and Risen Christ to the Church of San Filippo Neri where they announce the news of the Resurrection to the mourning of Loreto. It is then from the persuasion of the saints that the Madonna slowly moves out and sprints to meet her son, along with the sound of firecrackers dashing along with her sprint. As this is Italy no celebration would be complete without plenty of wine and pasta to follow the procession.
Sweden – Halloween Easter
Halloween and Easter in the same sentence? Yep we couldn’t believe it either, but tradition has it in Sweden that on Maundy Thursday, Swedish children cover their faces in paint. They take broomsticks, dress as witches and go knocking on people’s door asking for sweets. According to legend in Sweden, witches visited the forest of Blakulla before Easter, to party with the devil.
Texas – Hill burning
A ceremony which began in 1847 to celebrate the peace treaty which was signed by German settlers and Native Americans. Residents of Fredericksburg dress up as Easter bunnies, Comanches and pioneers parading through the tiny town before setting the hills on fire. As the fire is ablaze the towns’ lights are lowered as part of the Easter Fires Pageant.
Corfu – Clay pot throwing
The last in our Localizing Easter traditions takes us to Greece. To end the mass on Easter Sunday, church bells ring and residents of Corfu hurl clay pots off their balconies to celebrate that death has been beaten by the Resurrection. Inspired by the Venetians who used to throw their old and unwanted possessions out of their windows on New Year’s Day. The tradition was adopted by the residents of the island and was applied to the most important day in their calendar.
We wish you a very Happy Easter and hope you enjoyed our Localizing Easter blog. Watch this space for more weird and wonderful localized traditions.