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Easter traditions from around the world

Bret Pallotto

Managing Editor

bmp6070@lockhaven.edu

April 13, 2017

 

A traditional Easter holiday in the United States may be marked by a church service on Easter Sunday, candy delivered in a basket from the Easter Bunny, and egg painting leading up to an egg hunt.

Needless to say, customs and traditions vary from place to place, and when compared to United States traditions some can be quite odd. Here is a list of the most bazar customs around the world.

Slovakia

Boys and girls alike will dress up in traditional clothing before kicking off this Easter tradition. Pretty normal so far, right? Stick with me. The next progression is for the boys to chase down the girls and douse them with water or push them into a nearby body of water. Some choose to use perfume rather than water.

Once that step is done, the next step is for the boys to whip the girls in a good-natured manner. The thought is the whipping will keep women healthy and fertile until next Easter.

In exchange for the whipping, which generally occurs on their legs, the girls will give the boys hand-painted eggs or candy.

Italy

“Scoppio del carro,” in Italian translates to, “Explosion of the cart,” and that is precisely what happens with this Easter tradition that happens in Florence.

On the morning of Easter Sunday an antique cart, that is 30 feet tall, is pulled by a team of white oxen to a famous church in the city center. The oxen are donned with garlands that have the first flowers of the Spring.

The cart, which is filled with fireworks, is eventually lit and the impressive display lasts about 20 minutes.

If successful, the tradition is supposed to signify a good harvest, a civil day-to-day lifestyle, and good business.

France

When Napoleon and his army were passing through Haux, a small town in southwest France, they stopped at a restaurant and ordered omelets. Napoleon enjoyed his so much that he demanded the townspeople to gather their eggs together so that they could make an omelet big enough for his entire army.

The tradition lives on today and feeds up to 1,000 people. It has been reported to be 10 feet in diameter and contains 5,211 eggs, 21 quarts of oil, and 110 pounds each of bacon, onion and garlic.

Australia

Australians have no time for the Easter Bunny. Get that out of their face. The bilby is where it is at for those Down Under.

A bilby is a rabbit-sized marsupial with large ears and a pointed nose. Here’s the deal, though. Bilbies live in burrows and so do rabbits, so the problem is that rabbits push bilbies out of their burrows, which has drastically reduced the bilby population in Australia while increasing the rabbit population.

Rabbits are not necessarily wanted by Australians and the population has long been out of control and out of balance.

The rise of the bilby movement (which is what I’m going to call it) began in 1968 when a 9-year-old girl named Rose-Marie Dusting wrote a story titled, “Billy The Aussie Easter Bilby.” It was published 11 years later when Dusting was 20-years-old. Public interest in the bilby rose because of the story and conservation efforts soon followed.

Businesses in Australia sell chocolate bilbies rather than chocolate rabbits and donate portions of their sales to anti-rabbit campaigns.

“The sale of Easter bilbies instead of Easter bunnies has been very successful in increasing public awareness across Australia. It is great to see young kids talking about bilbies instead of bunnies,” said Emily Miller, a biologist at the University of Sydney, in an interview with Sarah Zielinski of NPR.

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