For many of us, Easter is a chance to eat our own body weight in chocolate. For others, it’s an opportunity to set the kids to work with an egg hunt in the garden. In many places, though, the crucifixion of Christ is marked more solemnly. Across the world, Easter is one of the most diverse celebrations in the annual calendar. From mass water fights in Poland to kite festivals in Bermuda, here are eight wonderful ways people mark the occasion.
In Sicily, people construct arches with bread
If imagining Sicilian food makes your mouth water uncontrollably, you best look away! In San Biagio Platani at Easter, you won’t just find it on your plate. The citizens of the town construct elaborate arches and domes all made from foodstuffs. They might look like the walkways of a cathedral, but those arches are made of bread. The Archi di Pasqua — Easter arches — is a tradition that dates back to the 18th century. Sounds like the stuff of fairy tales though, right?
In Poland, there are giant water fights
At Easter, it’s nice to get outside for a leisurely stroll — spring is in the air, after all. Although in Poland, you might get more than you bargained for. On Śmigus-dyngus – Easter Monday – you may well get a soaking. People of all ages chuck water at each other in a thousand-year-old tradition. It supposedly began as a pagan cleansing ritual. Nowadays, it’s a good excuse for some old-fashioned fun!.
People fly kites and eat hot cross buns in Bermuda
A hot cross bun is a pretty irresistible treat at Easter. Especially if you are in Bermuda on Good Friday. There used to be a superstition there that if you didn’t eat one then, your house would burn down. These days, Bermudians are too busy outside flying kites to worry about that. People from across the island make their own colorful creations to launch into the air!
Children dress up as witches in Finland
Kids parading around the streets asking for treats, dressed as witches. Wait – that’s Halloween, isn’t it? Nope, in Finland children saddle up on their broomsticks at Easter. The old Finnish belief was that by adorning witchlike clothes, children could fend off evil spirits. Finns also traditionally make bonfires to stop real witches from flying off to romp with Satan. Shiver!
Greeks paint eggs – and the sky – red
Sit around a Greek dinner table at Easter and it’s easy to mistake the eggs for juicy tomatoes. They’re painted bright red — the color of life, and the blood of Christ. Many Orthodox Christians in Greece don’t stop there. They also paint the sky with fireworks. Every church on Spetses island sets off fireworks at midnight on Easter Saturday. Nothing orthodox about that.
People make a giant omelet in Haux, France
Why use fifteen thousand eggs when one is un oeuf – or should we say, enough? It’s a valid question if you’re in the French town of Haux on Easter Monday. Well, the colossal omelet they make can feed a thousand people, that’s why. The tradition began during the time of Napoleon, who supposedly loved the local fry ups. So much so that he ordered they make an omelet large enough to feed his army.
In Norway, people enjoy murder-mystery stories
Ah, Easter — time for egg-hunts outside with spring in full bloom. As it happens, not in Norway. There, it means one thing: time to put the feet up with a good murder mystery. Påskekrims — Easter crime stories — are all the rage. Every year, Norwegian TV and radio stations are wall-to-wall with whodunnits. Why? Well, most commentators haven’t got to the bottom of that mystery either.
Guatemalans have a week-long festival
Nowhere goes larger than Guatemala at this time of year. Spanning the whole of Holy Week, the Easter festivities in Antigua are the world’s biggest. To inject a little color into your life, this is the place to be. With fireworks and processions of floats carrying biblical sculptures, it’s fair to say it’s pretty vibrant. And that’s not to mention the carpets laid on the street made of flowers and fruit.