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10 weirdest Easter traditions from around the world

Student Life

Wanna know where not to spend your Easter? Here are the top ten weirdest traditions from countries around the world that will make you grateful for the egg hunt… 

1. Crucificating in the Philippines

Filipinos take celebrating the acts of Christ seriously. Some devoted Catholics re-enact crucifixion and self-flagellation (whipping oneself). This practice is said to purify them of sins and express gratitude for favours granted. As much as this tradition is discouraged by the local Catholic Church, there are still active promoters and the custom takes place every year.

2. Whipping in the Czech Republic

To celebrate the start of Easter, girls colour eggs to give out to boys that go round houses with braided pussy-willow twigs on Easter Monday. These twigs, decorated with colourful ribbons are called “pomlázky” and young boys use them to whip the girls whilst chanting a song or reciting a poem. This is not to hurt them but to keep them healthy, young and fertile.

3. Water splashing in Hungary

No matter the weather, Hungarian girls should get ready to get wet on Easter! What started as an innocent tradition of perfume sprinkling young women of marriage-age, has now become a more pagan “celebration” of fertility. Instead of perfume, in many places in Hungary, girls and women are “sprinkled”, ehm drenched, with cold water to keep them vital. Again, boys get coloured eggs or a shot of local alcohol to keep them warm (because they need it, right?) in return. We can’t decide what’s better, getting whipped or splashed with freezing water?

4. Tobacco-decorating in Papua New Guinea

Tobacco is the new Easter egg! In Papua New Guinea, trees outside churches are decorated with tobacco sticks and cigarettes, which are handed out to worshippers when leaving the mass. Makes sense, if you don’t have chocolate, use cigarettes, right?

5. Pottery smashing in Corfu

Orthodox Corfiots like to celebrate Holy Saturday with a bang - literally. The local custom is to throw large clay pots and jugs filled with water out of their homes’ windows into the streets. This ritual is supposed to ward off evil spirits. Taking a piece of smashed clay then brings one luck. You can get great anger relief as a bonus!

6. Dance banning in Germany

“Tanzverbot” is an old German tradition that literally translates to a ban of dancing. On Good Friday, you cannot move your hips into a rhythm of any song in public in 13 out of 16 German states. The restrictions differ from state to state but in the most religious parts of Germany (such as Bavaria), you could be faced with up to €1,500 fine for violating this tradition. Perhaps skip the night out that day altogether...

7.  Butter lamb eating in Poland and Russia

In Poland and Russia, no Easter Sunday dinner is complete without a butter lamb centrepiece. Yes, it is exactly what it says on the tin - a knob of butter moulded into the shape of a lamb. Not only does this symbolise a celebration of spring but meeting a lamb is considered a lucky omen according to an old tradition.

8. Crime-binging in Norway

Easter in Norway is all about crime and murder, only in the most innocent sense. Television channels filled with crime series, detective stories printed on milk cartons and cosying up on the couch with a good old murder mystery book whilst all the shops are traditionally closed, that is Easter for the Norwegians. Doesn’t sound all that bad, does it?

9. Haloweening in Finland, Sweden and Denmark

In the Nordics, Halloween happens at Easter. Traditionally, kids dress up as witches and warlocks on Thursday before Easter and take the streets in search for sweets. This custom is said to have origin in the belief that witches would fly to Germany to cavort with the devil. Then, they would return on Easter Sunday, which is why locals make large bonfires to scare them away.

10. Red egg colouring in Greece

For Othodox Greeks, there is only one colour that truly represents Easter and that is red. Red symbolises the blood and sacrifice of Christ and the egg stands for rebirth. The eggs are traditionally dyed on Holy Thursday and are the first meal to be eaten once fasting of Lent is over.

How do you celebrate Easter and which tradition from our list is your favourite?

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