Chocolate bunnies move over – these six different Easter celebrations are a strictly chocolate-free affair. From cute witches to giant omelettes to feed a hungry 1,000-strong crowd, discover a world of strictly bunny-free traditions.
Easter in Sweden may be a mainly secular affair but there’s a rather bewitching twist that sees children dress up as little witches, known as ‘pskkrringar’, complete with freckles, rosy red cheeks and willow twigs decorated with colourful feathers. These little witches then take to the streets, knocking on doors and asking for treats. This tradition is often accompanied by huge bonfires, that stem from the belief that the flames will ward off the many witches flying around between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
In Eastern Europe the chocolate eggs are put aside in favour of decorated hard-boiled eggs that are left on tables as decorations. Thought to be based on traditional pagan traditions, here hard-boiled eggs are decorated using beeswax, then dyed with onion skins and natural pigments. The brightly-coloured eggs symbolise fertility, rebirth and the blossoming of the new-season’s flowers. In this part of the world you’ll also find many people hosting giant bonfires – another pagan ritual – that is seen to bring about fertile fields and protection from illness.
If you venture into the streets of Poland on Easter Monday you better pack your raincoat. On this day, known as ‘Smigus-Dyngus’ or ‘Wet Monday’, an all-out water-fight takes to the streets as people tip buckets of water over passersby. While it was originally a male-only tradition, and girls were the desired targets, these days it has morphed into a water fight where everyone is fair game. This unique tradition is said to have started with the baptism of Polish Prince Mieszko on Easter Monday in 966 AD.
Head to the beaches of Bermuda for an Easter-tradition that sees locals hit the sand to fly colourful paper kites and eat codfish cakes. This creative tradition is said to have come about after a teacher, struggling to explain the Good Friday traditions, made a kite with a cross structure to explain the ascension of Christ. Today, this much-loved tradition has locals working on their unique kites for months in advance ready for the big day.
Easter mass in Florence – quite literally – goes off with a bang. Here, locals celebrate a 350-year-old tradition known as the ‘scoppio del carro’, or ‘explosion of the cart,’ whereby a beautifully-decorated cart packed with fireworks is led through the streets before stopping outside the city’s famous Duomo. The Archbishop then lights a fuse during mass that sparks a fireworks display, a tradition that is said to date back to the First Crusade and was performed to ensure a bountiful harvest.
In this small French city you’ll find a unique take on Easter-egg traditions. In fact, here the eggs (all 5,000 of them) are broken and transformed into a giant omelette to feed up to 1,000 hungry people in the town’s main square.