Chocolate bunnies, colourfully painted eggs and lots of time with the family – those are some of the things that jump to mind when it comes to Easter in Germany. Traditionally, Easter is a religious holiday that comes with a whole host of traditions and customs. Over the centuries, many of these customs have evolved or changed completely as they spread across Europe. And how do things look today? For this week’s Fact Friday we’ve picked out a few Easter traditions that really stand out:
How Europeans celebrate Easter
While all of Germany is turning the garden upside down in search of hidden Easter baskets, the Poles have a cheerful, rather wet celebration: Śmigus Dyngus. This means something to the effect of “Wet Monday”. Why wet, you ask? The whole family turns out for a full-on water battle in the street. Let’s just hope that the weather plays along this year and helps everyone dry off quickly. Further North, the Norwegians need not worry about the weather for their celebrations. Påskekrimmen stands for the Norwegian tradition of using the Easter holidays for detective stories and thrillers. We’re not talking about biting off the ears of innocent chocolate bunnies (which, frankly, isn’t a particularly nice Easter tradition), we’re talking real horror stories, the kind that make you want to cower in fear under your blanket. Next door in Sweden, scaring seems to also be the goal on Easter. They don’t really observe Western traditions and have just deferred Halloween to spring. On Maundy Thursday, the children throw on their witch costumes and go door to door, swapping willow branches for sweets. We have to wonder if there are any chocolate bunnies in the mix… Who knows. What we do know is what the Luxembourgers will be distributing on Bretzelsonnden. Rightly guessed, pretzels, of course. These sweet puff pastries with frosting and almonds are awarded by the Lords of Creation to their sweethearts and, in return, the men receive an Easter egg on Easter Sunday. Who knew Easter could be so romantic? At least as long as everyone sticks to giving out one pretzel.
Those looking to escape an awkward Easter love triangle by relaxing under the sun in Greece better watch their heads on Easter Sunday. At 11 o’clock, the inhabitants of the Greek island of Corfu take to throwing clay pots of any and all sizes from their balconies onto the street. Family disputes, you may be thinking, but this is actually an Easter tradition to ward off evil spirits and signifies a fresh start. If the superstition of broken glass bringing good luck is anything to go by, this should be a great new beginning.
Interested in a few language tips? Here’s how to say »Happy Easter« in a few other languages
- Spanish: Feliz Pascua
- Portuguese: Feliz Páscoa
- German: Frohe Ostern
- Italian: Buona Pasqua
- French:Joyeuses Pâques
- Greek : Καλό Πάσχα (Kalo Pas-ha)
- Romanian: Paşte Fericit
- Russian: Счастливой Пасхи (Shastlivoy Pas-hi)
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