Easter Traditions Around the World:
Easter Traditions in Germany
Of all the Easter traditions around the world, the Germans do the most wonderful things with eggs! When cooking with eggs for Easter, eggs are "blown out" rather than broken. That way, they can use the shells to decorate!
In Germany, hollow eggshells are painted and decorated with lace, cloth or ribbon. These decorated eggs are hung with ribbons from a small tree, sometimes with flowers, as good luck. Easter trees sound a little familiar? That's because a lot of North American Easter traditions come straight from Germany! Along with the idea of the eggshell tree, German settlers to America brought with them the story of an "Easter Bunny" that delivered eggs to good children at Easter.
Another interesting German Easter tradition? Some Germans celebrate the holiday with an Easter fire made from Christmas trees. This fire puts an official end the winter and signals the start of spring.
Polish Easter TraditionsLike most Easter traditions around the world, Polish Easter traditions revolve around... the egg! In Poland, a boiled egg is often cut into enough pieces for everyone to have a bit-- an act mean to symbolize renewal in the home. Polish Easter eggs are also beautifully decorated! They are intricately painted and given as gifts during the holiday.
Want to start a new Easter tradition in your home? Copy this creative one from Poland: One of the most unusual traditions is that of Smingus-Syngus, or "Water Monday." This custom says that pouring water on people is a way to bring good luck and cure illnesses for those who get soaked. This year, you may want to try a water-gun version of this with the kids!
Easter in GreeceAnybody who's seen "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" has seen this one: in Greece, Easter eggs are dyed a deep blood red! These red eggs become part of a game where children try to crack one another's eggs. This game represents Christ breaking from the tomb, and the red color of the eggs represents the blood and renewal of Christ. Red eggs are also laid on the "Resurrection Table" for a Greek Easter Sunday feast. During Easter in Greece, red dye was also placed on small lambs to protect them during the season.
On Thursday evening before Easter Sunday, mourning begins in Greek villages with bells ringing slowly and women remaining in churches throughout the night. Mardi Gras-type celebrations happen before the week of Easter as well as carnivals that end in the burning effigy of Judas. Perhaps one of the less cheerful Easter traditions around the world!
Easter Traditions in Switzerland In this country, the cuckoo brings the eggs rather than an Easter bunny! In the South of Switzerland a live passion play with Roman soldiers is performed. Water wells are often adorned with flowers and blown eggs that have been decorated. One Easter game in Switzerland involves throwing a coin at a child's egg. The child gets to keep the egg if the adult misses... but if the adult wins and they get the coin and the egg!
Russian Easter TraditionsIn Russia, the main Easter traditions are all about decorating eggs. Wooden eggs and hollow eggshells with their fillings blown out are carefully painted in bright patterns-- each pattern specific to a region of the country.
Often, these eggs are cracked open using nails to symbolize the crucifixion.
Costa Rican EasterMuch of Easter means relaxation and family time for Ticos or those who live in Costa Rica. Businesses close during the week of Easter, or Semana Santa including transportation services. Some people journey during Easter to the Basilica de los Angeles, a church in honor of the Virgin of Angels. Visitors ask for favors and offer a promise to the Virgin of Angels during these visits.
Easter Traditions in FinlandOf all the Easter traditions around the world, the Finnish might be the most serious. Why? Because Easter in Finland is less about celebration and more about piousness. At Eastertime, Finnish children dress in rags and go door to door with their faces covered in soot waving blessed twigs. The children wave the twigs to bless neighbor's homes and sometimes get coins in exchange for their work.
Customs from everyday life and from Christianity influence all of the different Easter traditions around the world. Whether a culture's own traditions are about piousness, celebration, or silliness, they are almost all based on the idea of being with family and celebrating the renewal of Spring.
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