While many people are used to hiding chocolate eggs and enjoying dinner with family and friends, there are many different Easter traditions around the world.
1. Egg Rolling in Scotland
Easter in Scotland is a mostly laid-back event. Scots do the traditional things commonly associated with Easter, but they also add a bit of fun, particularly for the kids. Easter fun here is all about eggs. After they’re boiled and painted with different designs, they’re rolled down a hill on Easter Sunday. Apart from fun, the event is symbolic as it is carried out to represent the rolling away of stones on Jesus’ tomb thereby assisting in His resurrection.
2. Golden Eggs Russia
During the early years of the 20th century, the former rulers Czar Alexander III and Czar Nicholas II had some very special Easter Eggs made for them by the jeweller Carl Fabergé. The first egg was a gift from Alexander III to his wife and was made of gold and white enamel. Inside the egg was a golden yolk containing a golden hen with ruby eyes. Inside the hen was a tiny golden crown. It was so beautiful that the Czar said that every Easter, Fabergé should make the Czarina (or Queen) a special egg. The design of the egg was left up to Fabergé, but each egg had to have a surprise in it. Fabergé made eggs for other members of the Russian royal family, and occasionally for the Czar to present to other monarchs. They are very precious, and are kept in royal collections and museums.
3. Egg-knocking France, Germany, Norway and Syria.
The game is played with hard boiled ones and is a bit like the game of ‘conkers’. The object of the game is to hit everyone else’s egg and to keep your own one unbroken. The last player with a whole egg is declared the winner.
4. Bonnets in the U.S.A
Easter Bonnets come from European traditions of wearing flowers on a hat to celebrate spring. It was developed over the years into a way of ladies celebrating Easter and of showing off to family and friends as to who had the best Bonnet!
Each year on Easter Sunday, celebrants don festive finery and show off their very best bonnets along Fifth Avenue in New York City. The pageant is a tradition that stretches back to the 1870s.
5. Kite Flying Bermuda
Bermudians celebrate Good Friday by flying home-made kites, eating codfish cakes, and eating hot cross buns. The tradition is said to have begun when a local teacher from the British Army had difficulty explaining Christ’s ascension to Heaven to his Sunday school class. He made a kite, traditionally shaped like a cross, to illustrate the Ascension. The traditional Bermuda kites are made with colourful tissue paper, long tails, wood, metal, and string.
6. Easter Fires Europe
In parts of Northwestern Europe large bonfires, called Easter Fires, are lit on Easter Sunday and Monday. While there are various explanations for the origin of the Easter Fires, the most common Saxon tale is that Easter is a time when spring becomes victorious over winter and the fires were to chase the darkness of winter away. Today, however, the meaning of the fires is simply to bring communities together. The nights are festive with heavy consumption of gin, lager, and snacks.
7. Eggy Fun in Sweden
Easter in Sweden is about fun, food and festivity. Celebrations commence on Easter Saturday with children dressing up as good witches setting the Easter mood by giving out letters and cards in return for eggs, sweets and coins.
On Easter Sunday, food is typically Nordic fashion and the feast comprises mostly fish. Edibles include different kinds of herring, a selection of smoked salmon, a hint of roast ham and various cheeses. Of course, the main attraction are eggs which are exchanged and later used in a game where participants roll them down roofing tiles to see which egg can go the furthest without breaking.
8. Flying Bells and Omelettes France
French kids don’t get goodies from the Easter bunny, but from the Easter bells. Catholics don’t ring church bells between Holy Thursday and the Easter Vigil. As the story goes, in France, the bells are off flying to Rome to get a blessing from the Pope, but when they return they bring chocolate and gifts for the kids.
Don’t forget a fork if you’re in this southern French town of Haux on Easter Monday. Each year a giant omelette is served up in the town’s main square. The omelette uses more than 4,500 eggs and feeds up to 1,000 people. The story goes, when Napoleon and his army were travelling through the south of France, they stopped in a small town and ate omelettes. Napoleon liked his so much that he ordered the townspeople to gather their eggs and make a giant omelette for his army the next day.
9. Eggs and Bunnies Germany
Eggs and bunnies are two of the oldest symbols of Easter in Germany and every spring shops boom with eggs and bunnies made of chocolate, cardboard or flowers in different sizes and wrappings.
The Germans have a number of egg games which the children play over the holidays. One tradition is to blow eggs and paint them in multiple colours and patterns on Good Friday. The eggs are then put in a basket for the Osterhase (or Easter bunny) to hide around the house on the night leading up to Easter Sunday. On the morning of Easter Sunday, the children go hunting for the eggs and often find that the Osterhase has also left chocolate eggs and Easter presents for them to find.
10. United Kingdom Simnel Cake
Simnel is a light fruit cake decorated with 11 or 12 marzipan balls to represent the 12 apostles, excluding Judas. Christians in the UK and the Republic of Ireland have been serving Simnel cake on the middle Sunday of Lent, when the fast is broken, since medieval times.