At Rushton Hall, one of the finest hotels in Northamptonshire, we like to celebrate Easter with our Traditional Sunday Lunch and at only £35 for a three-course meal, it’s the perfect excuse to get together.
We asked the team at our Northampton hotel what they expect from easter in the UK and they proposed a visit from the Easter bunny, bonnets, Easter egg hunts and an Easter Sunday Roast with the family. This isn’t the case everywhere around the world and over the years practices have been adapted meaning Easter is celebrated in a variety of ways globally. Here is a collection of some of the fun, unusual and quite frankly bemusing Easter traditions from around the world.
1. MURDER MYSTERY in Norway
Påskekrimmen is the Norwegian tradition of reading, watching, and listening to crime stories and detective thrillers during the Easter holidays. It is said the tradition started in 1923 when a book publisher promoted a new crime novel on the front page of a newspaper, the ads were so realistic that people didn’t know if was a publicity stunt. Today publishers, radio and TV stations produce special “Easter Thrillers”.
2. EASTER NESTS in Germany and Switzerland
Who doesn’t like to search the house and garden for baskets filled with chocolate? In Germany, Switzerland, and many other countries for that matter, you don’t fill your basket with individual eggs, whole Easter nests are hidden. The nests are decorated baskets or boxes that are filled with chocolate bunnies, eggs, and toys and are said to be hidden by the Easter bunny.
3. WATER FIGHTS in Poland
On Easter Monday the Polish celebrate Śmigus Dyngus “Wet Monday” with a friendly water fight. In the olden days, it was used to be a way for single men to chase single ladies, but now it is a water fight for anyone and everyone. The weapons of choice are water guns, empty shampoo and dish soap bottles, and, of course, good old fashioned buckets.
4. CLAY POT THROWING in Corfu
On Easter Saturday at 11 a.m. sharp, watch out for flying pottery on the Greek island of Corfu. The residents of Corfu throw clay pots from their balconies in this tradition that dates back to the 16th century. Traditionally people threw all of their useless and old belongings out of the window to get ready for the New Year, the breaking pots were said to scare away evil spirits and mark a new beginning.
5. ANGELS in the Philippines
In the Philippines little girls dress as angels and walk in a day-long procession as part of the Easter “salubong”. The men make up one procession, led by an image of the resurrected Christ, and the women form another, following a black veil-clad Mother Mary. When the two groups finally meet at the church, it symbolizes Christ meeting and consoling his mother after his resurrection. At the church the little angels remove the veil of mourning and the procession changes into one of light and festivity.
6. PRETZELS in Luxembourg
Luxembourgers celebrate Bretzelsonndeg, Pretzel Sunday, on the third Sunday in Lent. In Luxembourg, pretzels are actually sweet puff pastries with icing and almonds. Guys give the girl they fancy a pretzel on this day, if she accepts the treat, the guy is allowed to visit the girl on Easter Sunday and will get an egg in return. If all of this happens in a leap year, the roles are reversed, and the girls can hand out pretzels.
7. HALLOWEEN in Sweden
Sweden and some of its Scandinavian neighbours celebrate Halloween on the Thursday before Easter. Children dress up as witches (complete with broomsticks and copper kettles) and go from door to door offering the adults decorated willow branches or drawings in return for treats. The tradition comes from the legend that the Swedish witches went to Blåkulla before Easter – to party with the devil. To make sure the witches won’t come back, Swedes burn big bonfires on Easter Sunday.
8. EASTER HARES in a Sweden, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland
An easter hare delivers sweet treats to children in Sweden, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (as opposed to a rabbit in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and Australia). In France, it’s not the Easter bunny or hare that children have to thank, it’s the Easter bells that are responsible for sending the chocolates around.
9. A GIANT OMELETTE in Haux, France
On Easter Monday each year in the southern French town of Haux, a giant omelet is served up in the town’s main square. The omelet uses more than 4,500 eggs and feeds up to 1,000 people. The story goes, that when Napoleon and his army were traveling through the south of France, they stopped in a small town and ate omelets. Napoleon enjoyed his so much that he ordered the townspeople to gather their eggs together and cook a giant omelet to feed his whole army the next day.
10. KITE FLYING in Bermuda
Kite flying is everyone’s favorite pastime during the Easter holidays in Bermuda. Bermudians make their own kites with wooden sticks, bright paper and a special tissue called “hummers” that make a buzzing sound, also known as the sound of Bermudian Easter. Everyone gathers and lets their beautiful kites fly at the annual Kite Festival on Good Friday.