Easter comes with some wonderful festivities, and some weird traditions. From the re-enactment of the crucifixion to competitive Easter Fires, there are many that will take you by surprise. The Sherp brings you a list of these traditions, as they are celebrated around the world. Take a look!
1. The Silent Saturday
France, like most places in the world with Catholic churches, has its own quirky celebration of Easter. Every year, there are the usual colourful eggs and morning masses, but there’s also this eerie tradition that’s been around for a very long time. On the days leading up to Easter, the churches in France will stop ringing their bells as a sign of remembrance to the passing of Jesus. This is known as the Silent Saturday. A more fantastical version of the tradition is that the bells themselves come out from their daily tolling position to see the Pope. Yes, we’re talking about flying bells. This is a famous tradition in France and once the bells return, the festival is celebrated with joy and candy.
2. Natural birth certificates
This one is more of a fact than a tradition. During the rustic days in the 19th century, when many families were unable to get to the closest town hall to file a birth certificate for a newborn, an egg would be accepted as a method of identification. Yes, you read that correctly. The egg was dyed and inscribed with the person’s name and birth date. And no one would object to being presented by an egg when asked for age proof and the like. It was completely legal and accepted by local courts and other authorities. As they say, one man’s egg is another man’s birth certificate.
3. Re-enactments of the crucifixion
As one would anticipate, the seat of the Catholic church sure puts on a great show during this holiday. With brilliant crowds gathering to see the commencement of Easter in the Vatican City, there’s a lot of hype around this one. St. Peter’s Square is alive with medieval dances and performances, and a very true to the story re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus. Granted, they progress from his rise to the actual crucifixion, but seeing an actor nailed to wood early Easter morning is perhaps not the ideal way to start your day.
4. Philippines’ painful purge
While the rest of the world celebrates Easter with colourful eggs and chocolate, Filipino Catholics have a different idea about the holiday. Faithful followers of the church have a painful way of showing their dedication this time of the year. Many individuals whip their backs with bamboo sticks and sharp blades as a form of worship leading up to Easter. This is meant as a sign of purification, to rid them of sins and cure illness. They also pause at makeshift altars throughout the cities and villages to listen to locals describing Jesus Christ’s suffering. And we thought athiesm was hardcore.
(Source: Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images)
5. Whipping and some ice-cold water
Everyone has different methods of wooing the opposite gender, but the folks in the Czech Republic take it a bit too far. During the days leading up to Easter, the younger folks in the towns and villages of the Czech Republic have some strange practices, that are meant to woo the opposite sex. For example,it is customary for men to get a special Easter whip that they then use to swat the women they fancy most. As if that isn’t weird enough in itself, the women are supposed to reward the men for hitting them with a colourful egg or even better, a handful of money. The oddity doesn’t end here, though. Alternatively, the women of the Czech Republic will go out and dump ice cold water on the men that they fancy. As weird as this sounds, it’s socially acceptable conduct and everyone is said to have a great time at the end of the day.
6. Competitive Easter Fires
If you haven’t had enough of hardcore Easter traditions, here’s another one. This one is more likely to be a Hunger Games challenge, than a festival that’s supposed to be about colourful eggs and bunnies. Cyprus celebrates Easter with a hearty Easter Fire, where the townsfolk eventually gather and watch the flames and commence festivities. Sounds innocent enough, right? Well, what’s strange is the competitiveness that comes into play. It’s customary for the neighbourhood’s younger boys to scour the area for wood scraps, which, apparently, are relatively scarce. It’s not uncommon for the police to break up fights between teenage boys over wooden scraps during this time of the year.
7. A killer Easter
This one may just be our new favourite Easter tradition. In Norway, it is Easter tradition to sit down with your family and read or watch murder mysteries together, so you can all try to figure out who the killer was together as a family. This is not something that only a couple of families indulge in, this is a legitimate, widespread tradition. So much so that the TV channels air murder mysteries during Easter and movie releases are timed accordingly. Another thing you will find during Easter in Norway are the crime cartoons on milk cartons. Norway sure knows how to celebrate a holiday.