In Australia, Easter is a time for friends and family from all walks of life to come together and celebrate love, life and the beautiful sense of belonging. Easter has grown to become a national weekend of celebration with the promise of family feasts, Easter egg hunts with the kids, spending time with loved ones…(and enjoying excessive amounts of chocolate without completely guilt-free!).
Easter is also a time we like to travel and getaway over the long weekend with our families to enjoy the final days of sun before autumn really kicks in.
While this may be the norm in Australia, Easter is celebrated around the world in a surprising variety of ways, with traditions differing from country to country. Whether it’s blowing up a cart of fireworks in Florence, eating giant omelettes in France or drenching each other with buckets of water in Poland, you’ll be amazed at some of the ways Easter is celebrated around the world…
Giant omelettes in Haux, France
In the town of Haux in France, a giant omelette made with 4,500 eggs (chicken eggs though, not Easter eggs) that feeds 1,000 people is served up in the town’s main square. The story goes, when Napoleon and his army were travelling through the south of France, they stopped in a small town and ate omelettes. Napoleon was so impressed that he decided to visit again, this time with the town of Haux surprising him with a very, very large omelette.
Kites in Bermuda
Food and kite flying are top priorities over Easter weekend in Bermuda. On Good Friday, the locals celebrate by flying kites, eating codfish cakes and hot cross buns. The tradition is said to have begun when a local teacher from the British Army had difficulty explaining Christ’s ascension to Heaven to his Sunday school class. He made a kite, traditionally shaped like a cross, to illustrate the Ascension in an engaging way.
Red eggs and pots in Greece
No Greek Easter table is complete without bright red-dyed eggs. They’re prepared on the Thursday before Easter, along with the tsoureki, a sweet Easter bread. The eggs symbolise the blood Jesus shed and, when cracked, his resurrection. Before the meal, Greeks compete in an egg-tapping competition where the owner of the uncracked egg wins and is said to have good luck for the next year.
Also, many of the Greek islands have their own unique Easter commemorations, including the hurling of clay pots out of the window on Easter Saturday (Corfu) and an epic battle between two churches using firework rockets (Chios).
Easter trick-or-treat in Sweden
Easter is a mainly secular affair in Sweden – with a bewitching twist! Blåkulla Island, off the east coast of Sweden in the Baltic Sea, has long held an important role in Swedish folklore and is viewed as an evil and magical place. During Easter, it’s believed that witches travel to Blåkulla on Maundy Thursday to celebrate the witches Sabbath and plan their mischief. It is a lot more like Halloween with the children dressing up as Easter creatures called påskkärringar wearing long skirts, colourful headscarves and painted red cheeks, and go from home to home in their neighbourhoods trading paintings and drawings in the hope of receiving sweets.
Last but not least – Italy
Chocolate bunnies might not feature much in Italy, but you can be sure that Easter is a big celebration here. On Good Friday, the Pope delivers Easter Mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica, and the Via Crucis (Station of the Cross) is celebrated. A huge burning crucifix lights the sky around the Colosseum, and the Stations of the Cross delivered before the Pope gives his blessing.
Rituals vary from region to region; in Florence, a decorated wagon full of fireworks is exploded into a stunningly colourful display by a dove-shaped rocket, while green and white are worn by people in the Abruzzo region to symbolise peace, hope, and resurrection, and in Enna, Sicily, more than 2,000 friars dressed in ancient robes lead a procession through the city.