Easter Traditions from Around the World

Whether it goes by the name of Semana Santa, Pasqua or Ostern, Easter is certainly a holiday that is celebrated by many across the world. Regardless of whether celebrations assume a religious character or simply favour the consumption of chocolate eggs, it is certainly fun for all. 

However, besides religious gatherings and hunting for Easter eggs, did you know that there are a plethora of bizarre and wonderful activities that are held across the world in honour of Easter?

No? Well don’t fret. In this blog, we’re going to explore just a few of these traditions. Ranging from kite flying to crime novel reading, you’re certainly in for a treat!

1. Easter Kites in Bermuda

Every Good Friday, Bermuda holds a KiteFest. Taking place on Horseshoe Bay Beach, many gather to exhibit and fly their homemade and brightly decorated kites.

Confused as to what this has to do with Easter? The story goes that a local Sunday school teacher taught pupils about Christ’s ascension by flying a kite which represented Jesus.

2. Colourful Carpets in Antigua

In preparation for the Good Friday procession, artists cover the streets with colourful carpets in Antigua, Southern Guatemala. Artists make the carpets out of flowers, sawdust, fruit, vegetables and sand. Normally, the scenes depict something which holds personal meaning to the artist.

3. Easter Breadmaking in Poland

It is tradition in Poland for women to bake a traditional Easter bread. Although men may wish to participate, the tradition states that if a man were to get involved, their moustache would turn grey, and the dough wouldn’t rise! It’s a strictly female activity, therefore.

4. Easter Fireworks in Florence

Known as ‘Scoppio del Carro’, this tradition takes place in Florence, Italy on Easter Sunday. It translates to mean ‘Explosion of the cart’ and the tradition sees people dress in fifteenth century clothing, fill a cart with fireworks and lead it through the streets.

Once it reaches the Duomo, the cart stops and the Archbishop of Florence lights a fuse during the Easter mass. This creates a beautiful firework display. The tradition is said to bring a good harvest and it dates back to the First Crusade.

5. Omelettes in Haux

On Easter Monday, a giant omelette is served up in the main square of Haux, France. Feeding up to 1,000 people, the omelette uses more than 15,000 eggs!!!

The reason for this tradition is Napoleon. It is believed that when Napoleon travelled through the south of France, he stopped in a small town and ate omelettes. Given that he enjoyed the omelettes so greatly, he asked the village to gather all of their eggs and make a gigantic omelette for his entire army the next day. We’re not entirely sure why it had to be one gigantic omelette, but you can’t deny that it makes for a good tradition!

6. Egg Rolling in Scotland

On Easter Sunday, many families in Scotland participate in an egg rolling contest. After decorating their hard-boiled eggs, the families roll their eggs down a hill. The egg that travels the furthest distance without breaking is the winner.

7. Easter Crime Novels in Norway

And finally, we have perhaps the most unique tradition yet: reading crime novels at Easter.

In Norway, Easter is an incredibly popular time to curl up and read a crime novel. ‘Why?’ you might rightly ask. Well, this tradition dates back to 1923 and to a remarkably successful publicity stunt. On the 24th of March, an Oslo newspaper printed the headline: ‘The train to Bergen was robbed last night’. Upon reading this title, the news of a supposed robbery spread like wildfire.

However, the headline wasn’t true. It was rather the title of a novel written by Nordahl Grieg and Nils Lie. Although no robbery had taken place, the novel received a large degree of publicity and thus acquired a large readership. The association between Easter and crime fiction was consequently born.

We hope you enjoyed reading about all of these Easter traditions! We’d love to hear some of your favourite traditions though! Get in touch via our social media channels to keep this discussion going!

Fancy learning about more cultural events? Why not check out our February Festivities blog or our post exploring Geneva’s tradition of Escalade?