Easter Traditions & Gifts around the World

Easter Traditions & Gifts around the World

Easter comes but once a year, and you must celebrate it when you have the chance. But do people in other countries have their eggs delivered by the Easter bunny as well? Find out after the jump!

Differing Easter traditions seem to be few and far between in the western world. So before we delve into somewhat more unusual traditions, let’s kick it off with what most of us are used to:

All-American Easter Baskets

Oh, the joy of waking up Easter morning, finding carrots nibbled on and a note from the big bunny himself. Every Easter, millions of Americans start out their day with a hunt for their Easter basket. The anticipation of finding the basket is almost as exciting as what’s inside – candy! Everything from Marshmallow Peeps to Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs and pastel chocolate robin eggs. Candy is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Easter in the United States. The argument could be made that the chocolate you find in your Easter basket is better than the bounty from trick-or-treating on Halloween…

The Irish Easter Herring

In a country that used to be steeped in religious traditions until just a few decades ago, Easter in Ireland would be celebrated between attending mass, meeting your family, and getting stuffed with all sorts of food. From Maundy Thursday to Good Friday, and Easter Sunday to Monday. More interestingly, butchers would conduct a pseudo-procession to pay homage to a deceased herring as a way of celebrating the end of lent. You can imagine them selling lamb by the score for the Easter Sunday feast. After all, going without meat for a whole six weeks must have been pretty tough on a country heavily depended on livestock produce back in the day.

Russian Easter smooch

Russia has a culture shaped by the Orthodox church, and as such people celebrate Easter with family, friends, and a richly laid table in honor of The Last Supper. Before the festivities get in full swing, most Russians visit the banya (a bathhouse). Then people go to mass, all draped in white clothes and red or white headscarves. A midnight procession takes the attendants around the church, and afterwards mass continues until dawn. Everyone needs to stand, as Orthodox churches aren’t equipped with pews. Ouch!

Then on Sunday, folks eat a spiced yeast bread called кулич (coolitsh) that often includes raisins, nuts, or candied fruit. Many take their Easter bread and dyed eggs to church on Saturday to have it consecrated. And people kiss each other three times by way of saying hello for Easter, so much that there’s a verb for it: христосоваться (christosovatsya). Imagine a whole lot of kissing!

Red, bright and cheerful – Easter in Georgia

Speaking of Orthodox traditions – just like in Russia, life in Georgia also runs by the Gregorian calendar, so Easter takes place up to 13 days later. Good Friday is called “Red Friday” and commemorates the blood of Jesus. Every family dyes eggs red with madder roots on this day. On Easter Sunday, the red eggs are toasted like beer mugs, and the egg without a crack wins. Then people shout “Kriste Aghsdga!” (Christ has risen) and the answer “Cheshmaritad!” (Indeed, it’s him!).

The biggest Easter event takes place on Easter Monday, when families spend time together at the cemetery. They bring eggs, paska bread, and wine for the deceased to keep them company for a whole day. It’s a happy gathering with wine, music, and delicious food. Best of all, it takes away the children’s horror of the otherwise gloomy cemetery with laughter and cheers in bright light.

Ain’t no Easter eggs like in Sorbia

In the geographic corner of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, the Sorbs are a small linguistic minority famed for their super artistic Easter eggs. With beeswax, quills, candlelight, and lots and lots of patience, the Sorbs create eggs that should be exhibited rather than eaten. First, they boil the eggs and gently dab at them with liquid beeswax goose feathers, leaving a pattern on the surface of the egg. Then egg gets dipped in paint, so the areas that haven’t been waxed get colored. Once dry, hot wax is applied in different places to apply a new color. And so on and so forth. It can take hours to complete a Sorbian Easter egg.

In the end, the wax that was previously applied in painstaking detail must go again. So the wax gets melt over an open candle flame and wiped off. Finally, after several hours of tinkering with the eggshell, a tiny little piece of art enters the Easter nest – only to be eaten the next day.

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