Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter tradition

Kids in the U.S. grow up expecting a delivery of eggs and candy from the Easter bunny each year...Brought to this country by German immigrants in the 1700s, the practice is rooted in the belief that rabbits and eggs symbolize fertility and rebirth.
This may be the norm in America, however, other cultures have their their own, unique Easter celebrations. 

In the most popular family tradition, young children (especially girls) dress up as Easter witches, donning colorful old clothes and painting freckles on their faces. “The little witches then go from door to door, bringing willow twigs decorated with colorful feathers and crepe paper as blessings to drive away evil spirits, in return for treats”.

Pouring water on one another is a Polish Easter tradition called Smingus-Dyngus. On Easter Monday, boys try to drench other people with buckets of water, squirt guns or anything they can get their hands on. Legend says girls who get soaked will marry within the year.

Haux, France
On Easter Monday, ambitious chefs take to the town's main square to build a fire and fry up an omelet large enough to sate the hunger of an entire town—it's lunch for up to 1,000 people. 

Corfu, Greece
At 11 a.m. on Holy Saturday, residents in the city center (also known as Corfu) toss water-filled clay pots known as botides from balconies overlooking the main streets. 

Every Easter Sunday and Monday, residents of Guyana's coastal areas set out for open public spaces, like Kitty Seawall in the capital city of Georgetown, where the sky quickly turns kaleidoscopic with thousands of homemade kites. 

This is a very peculiar national activity. Publishers in Norway actually time series of books known as "Easter-Thrillers" or PĂ„skekrim, and dates of publication are moved to Spring and released at this time when the sale of mysteries goes up 50%. TV stations, radio and newspapers follow suit by running detective series based on the works of famous crime novelists such as Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Simenon and Ruth Rendell.

Czech Republic and Slovakia
There’s an Easter Monday tradition in which men spank women with handmade whips made of willow and decorated with ribbons. According to legend, the willow is the first tree to bloom in the spring, so the branches are supposed to transfer the tree’s vitality and fertility to the women.

Verges, Spain
On Holy Thursday in the Medieval town of Verges, Spain, the traditional “dansa de la mort” or “death dance” is performed. To reenact scenes from The Passion, everyone dresses in skeleton costumes and parades through the streets. 

Washington, D.C.
For 130 years, the White House has hosted the Easter Egg Roll on its South Lawn. 

Morris dancing - Traditional folk dancing called Morris dancing takes place over Easter.

  • An Easter festival is held in Antigua, a tradition brought to the country by Spanish missionaries in the 1700s. It involves a week of celebrations, including a procession travelling through the town.

  • People gather to carry huge  holy statues and a shrine is constructed every year.  (TransAmericasJourney/Youtube)

The Osterbaum or Easter tree is also popular in Germany, which involves Easter eggs being hung from trees or large branches. 
Like in the pic below...

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