For many of us Easter means being close to our most loved ones, resting or travelling to a new place and eating lots of chocolate bunnies, eggs and whatnot…
Yet did you know that in some other places of the world Easter is celebrated in curious ways? For example:
- Dressing up as witches in Finland.
- Self-flagellation in the Philippines.
- Or even walking the town barefoot in Spain!
Keep on reading and find out the 7 most unique ways to celebrate Easter!
Painted eggs championships in Romania
In Romania people normally spend Easter with the family. If you ever get invited to a Romanian Easter lunch, it will remind you of the North American Thanksgiving dinner.
The traditional Easter meal has 4-5 courses and includes a sour soup called “ciorba”, salad, pickles, roasted lamb stake, a meat pie made of lamb liver and lots of fresh parsley called “drob” and lots of painted eggs.
By far the most entertaining Easter tradition in Romania is the “egg battle”, an egg championship in which all friends and family participate. Each round of the game consists of knocking two hard-boiled eggs – the egg with the toughest shell wins and the loser has to eat all the boiled eggs the winner breaks.
On Easter Morning everyone in the family traditionally washes their face with the water in which a red-painted egg and a silver coin were sunk. The red egg symbolizes health and the silver purity.
Easter Trick or Treat in Sweden
In Sweden, children dress up as påskkärringar (Easter hags), they paint their faces, carry a broom and go knock on neighbors doors for treats, much like North American children do for Halloween.
For Easter, the Swedish decorate their houses with willow or birch twigs and eat a smörgåsbord, a buffet-style meal that includes various dished, such as herring, salmon, potatoes, eggs, meatballs, sausages etc.
Giant omelettes in Haux, France
Some people like to celebrate Easter with a ginormous omelette. In the town square of Haux, over 5000 eggs are used to make a huge omelette on Easter Monday and more than 1000 people are invited to join and for lunch. This peculiar tradition in France has been going on for over 30 years.
If you want to prepare a giant omelette in your own town, here is the recipe: 5000 eggs, 50 kg of onions and garlic and 4 kg of salt & pepper!
Bonfires and Mämmi in Finland
The Finnish believe that evil spirits roam free on the Saturday before Easter, reason for which they light bonfires and dress up as witches. On Sunday children go looking for the chocolate eggs their parents and family members have hidden around the house (the gardens are still covered in snow).
Another sweet tradition in Finland is eating Mämmi, a baked desert made of powdered orange peel, dark molasses and rye flour. The preparation takes hours and needs to be chilled for three to four days before it can be served cold with milk or cream and sugar. Mämmi is mentioned for the first time in the 16th century and it is believed to originate from either medieval Germany or Iran.
Self-flagellation and self-crucifixions in the Philippines
In the Philippines, the Holy Week is commemorated with street processions and a traditional play called Sinakulo. During the processions, some devotees will self-flagellate and even have themselves crucified, as a way to share Christ’s pain.
On Sunday, Catholics carry palm leaves to church to have them blessed; they will later use these leaves to decorate their homes.
Lamb leg shaped cake and egg trees in Germany
Easter celebrations start on Holy Thursday (aka “Gründonnerstag”), and according to tradition, you can only eat green things. One of the typical dishes in Germany is the seven herbs soup, containing watercress, dandelion, chives, parsley, leek greens, sorrel and spinach.
For dessert, there are lots of chocolate eggs, but also Osterlamm, a lamb-shaped cake dusted with confectioner’s sugar. This dessert is also popular in Alsace.
Decorating trees with colored eggs is likewise a popular tradition. These trees, known as “Osterstrauch”, fill the streets and gardens with colour and announce the arrival of spring.
The masked men of Spain
In many cities of Spain and especially in Andalusia, brotherhoods hold processions and dramatic performances carrying the Cross of Christ.
The participants wear penitential robes, as well as pointed tip hoods and masks which conceal their faces. Known as “nazarenos”, the participants walk the city barefoot and sometimes wear chains on their feet as penance.