Fun Facts and Easter Traditions Around the World
Although the first chocolate eggs appeared in Germany during the 19th Century, the history of Easter traditions around the world is quite a long and interesting matter.
As opposed to most annual celebrations, Easter takes place on a different date in either March or April every year and commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, what has any of this got to do with the Easter Bunny or chocolate eggs? Well, decorating eggs was an ancient tradition of great significance, and for many centuries, Christians believed that these eggs were an important symbol for new life and resurrection.
Fun Facts and Traditions from Around the World
With the above in mind, here are some unique celebrations, fun facts and Easter traditions around the world:
Easter Traditions in Africa
In case you might be asking yourself, since ancient times, eggs have symbolized new life and fertility to the Persians, Greeks, and Egyptians. In fact, this is precisely where the tradition of giving eggs originated, for the Egyptians were known to paint eggs before gifting them to a friend or member of the family.
With the above in mind, ancient ostrich eggs were recently discovered in a mysterious cave along the coast of South Africa. Incredibly, more than twenty-five of these eggshells are colored with murals and unique patterns designs. Later, scientific studies concluded that the eggs are more than 60,000 years old which makes them the most ancient remnants of Easter eggs in the world.
Ethiopians are known as deeply religious people who consider bread to be the most important symbol of the Easter Holidays. Known to the locals as Fasika, this period is focused on the creation of traditional bread such as Tella and Tej. In many ways, Ethiopia is now one of the most primitive countries in the world which means that this ancient tradition is much the same as it was many hundreds of years ago.
Annual Celebrations in Europe
Easter is celebrated in many parts of Europe, but few towns or countries are home to the same tradition as Haux in France. Inspired by a story that the locals of Haux were ordered to cook a giant omelet for Napoleon and his passing troops, the locals commemorate this holiday by creating a similar feast. In fact, more than four thousand eggs are used to create this omelet each year, and more than one thousand locals are only too happy to enjoy the free lunch.
Egg Jarping is possibly one of the strangest Easter traditions and one in which two contestants compete with one another using their finest hard-boiled eggs. Yes, in the North East of England, locals are known to boil eggs and then bash them against each other to see which one will crack first. In many ways, this game can be compared to confers but without the string or any need to boil some water.
Needless to say, the egg which does not crack is deemed the winner, and the loser is left with quite a bruised and broken egg.
Meanwhile, in Sweden, the locals treat Easter traditions in much the same way as Halloween. That is to say; all the children get dressed up as witches with painted faces and long skirts before going door to door in search of candy. However, there is one difference; the children must create colorful paintings which can be used in exchange for these sweets and treats.
Easter Traditions in North America and South America
As you may know, Easter traditions in America are mostly focused on chocolate eggs and the Easter bunny. However, there are several historic events which celebrate this important date. For example, the Annual Easter Egg Roll is an Easter tradition dating back to the 19th Century in America. Taking place on the lawn of the White House in Washington, the. President hosts a colorful event in which children use large oversized spoons to roll their painted eggs on the lawn.
Recent surveys have shown that more than 80% of Canadian parents continue to uphold a long-standing tradition to prepare Easter baskets for their children. While many countries around the world will gift a chocolate egg only, these baskets are filled with presents and treats for the kids.
Easter traditions in Ecuador usually coincide with the very last week of beach season. For this reason, an unspoken tradition is for locals to spend time on the sand with the families. However, it is also customary for these locals to visit no less than seven churches in this time to commemorate a vigil which the apostles held for Jesus while he prayed.
Interesting Traditions Elsewhere in the World
Did you know that Easter traditions are controversial in Australia? You see, rabbits are known to harass farmers and damage crops, so many Australians choose to ignore any mention of an Easter bunny. Instead, many locals prefer to buy the Easter Bilby instead, and the profit of these sales go to a very worthy conservation project.
Some tribes in Indonesia are known to celebrate Easter by washing their statues of Jesus Christ in a river. Known as the “Kure,” this tradition is often led by a village chief who will also offer prayers during the process. As opposed to gifting eggs, this tradition is thought to be more sacred than any other to the people of Ecuador during Easter.
Easter Island is an island located between New Zealand and Chile in the Pacific Ocean. During the 18th Century, European explorers discovered this tiny landmass which is best known for ancient volcanoes and some genuinely iconic Moai statues. While some people think that Easter Island was the origin of Easter traditions, the island was merely named after the day on which the island was first discovered.
Do you know of any other unusual Easter traditions from around the world? What does Easter mean to you? How do you think we should celebrate Easter?
Irene holds a Bachelor of Science (Applied Psychology), and Certificate in TESOL and a Certificate in the Teaching of Children with Dyslexia. Fifteen years experience in developing education programs and resources for Early Childhood and Primary Educators.