Easter traditions around the globe
With today being Good Friday, marking the start of the Easter weekend, not only do we get to celebrate the occasion with two bank holidays, we also get to gorge on hot cross buns and chocolate eggs. As such you might be forgiven for thinking that our way of marking Easter is the most fun. But actually, other countries have their own special ways of celebrating too.
Around the globe, Easter has been appropriated from a religious ceremony to a fun occasion that also marks the start of spring. It’s led to some odd traditions, which involve everything from flying kites to reading mystery novels – or even eating turtle egg omelette.
To become even more worldly-wise, the Flexicover team thought it would be good to share how five other countries around the world mark Easter.
It’s not the most religious of traditions, but Easter is traditionally the time for Norway’s residents to crack open a mystery book or watch a thriller series. Now known as Paaskekrim, ‘Easter Crime’ is believed to have begun in 1923, when a book publisher promoted their new crime novel on the front page of a newspaper. The ad resembled a news story so much that the readers believed it to be real news, and bought it – literally. But as many families escape to their summer houses for a week at Easter, it’s an accident that’s turned into a pastime.
Bermuda’s Easter traditions might appear strange at first: we’re talking meals of codfish cakes and hot cross buns as well as some kite-flying, but it succinctly shows the way in which it’s married its British colonial heritage with Bajan culture. Kites were introduced as an Easter pastime when a teacher used a kite – traditionally made with a cross – to represent the Ascension. Now the Bermuda Kite Festival takes place on Good Friday at Horseshoe Bay, with competitions for the best kites as well as Easter egg hunts, egg and spoon races and even a fishcake competition.
A tradition that’s still popular in Central Europe in particular, appears to be boys soaking girls with water on Easter Monday. One country where this takes place is Poland. As part of a tradition they call Smigus-Dyngus, originally used to mark the baptism of a Polish prince in 966AD, boys basically instigate a water fight. Whether using buckets, squirt guns or water balloons, the legend says that girls who get soaked will marry within the year. Traditionally girls would then get their own back on Easter Tuesday. Nowadays, however, both sexes throw water over each other on the same day and nothing is read into it – it’s just a day of good clean fun. Very clean, by the end of it.
In the city where the Easter story takes place, it’s no surprise that Jerusalem marks Easter in a more religious fashion. The Bible explains that Jesus carried his cross through Jerusalem until he reached the place where he was nailed to it. This 500m route is now a long and winding street in Jerusalem called Via Dosolora, and is the focal point of activity for pilgrims who carry a cross and replicate this route in dedication to him. But it’s far from a quiet walk of contemplation; as a tourist hotspot, the route now has street traders and snack bars which makes it busy and bustling all the way to the end.
While Easter food for us is of the sweet variety, for Colombians, they indulge in something a little, well, stranger. During this ‘Holy Week’, the biggest religious celebration of the year, Colombians working in Bogota and other large cities travel back home to see their family. To add to the celebrations, they’ll bring back some coveted ingredients for a family feast. So on the menu will be turtle egg omelettes, iguana soup or capybara, the world’s largest rodent. The less daring visitor might want to stick to the sides of coconut rice and fried yucca, washed down with a cold beer.
So wherever you choose to travel to this year it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.