Like most major holidays in America, Easter celebrations have strayed a bit from their religious roots. Chocolate bunnies, colorful eggs with gooey, marshmallow-y filling, and giant glazed hams have taken center stage — but Easter traditions in other countries tell a much different story. Elsewhere in the world, Easter has many different signature rituals, some of which have religious origins, and some of which will definitely surprise you. In other countries, Easter Sunday is less about marshmallow bunnies, and more about crime novels, buckets of water, broken pots, and.... willow spankings?
Yup. It kind of makes you want to leave the U.S. this Easter, doesn't it? I mean, hunting for eggs in the front yard seems pretty boring compared to what goes on in Finland (hint: it involves having a bonfire to ward off broom-flying witches). So this year, let's take a break from buying wasteful plastic grass for the Easter basket (that will immediately get thrown out by noon on Easter), and take part in some of the coolest and most unique Easter traditions from around the world. But let's keep the Peeps, because they will forever be the highlight of the day, no matter where you are. Seriously, you guys. Those things are the best.
The Aussies are not into bunnies. Bunnies, to them, are seen as crop-destroying animal punks, so instead they bow down to Easter Bilby, which is an endangered rodent with rabbit ears. Easter Bilby is the one to deliver the candy, and after that is devoured, they eat hot cross buns.
On Easter Monday (the day after Easter Sunday, of course), men apparently spank women on the bums using handmade whips made of ribbons and willow. It sounds bananas, right? Well, it's all in good fun, not intended to inflict pain, and it's meant to support a woman's fertility.
Eggs are the star in Southern France on Easter Monday. That's because more than 4,500 eggs are needed in order to make their annual giant omelette, which feeds up to 1,000 people.
To honor Paaskekrim or "Easter crime," many Norwegians read crime mystery novels or watch crime procedural dramas. Any tradition that involves reading or watching more TV is a win, am I right?
On "Holy Saturday," the day before Easter Sunday, the residents of Corfu (a Greek island) toss pots and pans out their windows and onto the street below. Legend has it that the ritual symbolizes the coming of spring, new life, and new crops.
The good folks of Bermuda celebrate Easter by flying kites they made themselves, and eating codfish cakes and hot cross buns. According to Bermuda Online, the kite is supposed to resemble a cross and represent the Ascension of Jesus.
The streets of Poland are a battle field on Easter Monday, but don't worry, because the weapon of choice is water. It started as a playful act of men sprinkling unmarried women with holy water with the intention of romance, but eventually turned into a massive water fight.
Image: Gytha69, Eljay, Steven Depolo, Kate Ter Haar, Horslips5, James Lumb, Adam, Mark Surman/Flickr