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Easter Around the World – A History Lesson

Updated: Oct 10, 2022

Easter tradition in the US is made up of an egg hunt and/or kids expecting a delivery of decorated eggs and candy from the Easter bunny. Brought to this country by German immigrants in the 1700’s, the practice of egg-hunting is rooted in the belief that rabbits and eggs symbolize fertility and rebirth. When looking at this holiday world-wide, other cultures have their own unique Easter celebrations. Whether it’s sprinkling water on one another in Poland, making omelets in France, or breaking pots in Greece; read on about the history behind some of these popular Easter traditions from around the world. As different as they are, they all have in common gatherings, feasts, and the symbolism of rebirth and fertility.

“Sprinkling” is a popular Hungarian Easter tradition (also known as “Ducking Monday”) during which boys playfully sprinkle perfume or perfumed water on girls. Back in the day, young men used to pour buckets of water over young women’s heads. The water was believed to have a cleaning, healing and fertility-inducing effect. Another culture where they instill a similar tradition is Poland. Pouring water on one another is called Śmigus-dyngus. Boys would go around with buckets of water, squirt guns or anything they can get their hands on (legend says girls who get soaked will marry within the year!)

The Czech Republic has a more interesting Easter Monday tradition, in which men “spank” women with handmade whips constructed of willow and decorated with ribbons. The willow is the first tree to bloom in the spring, so “legend says” that the branches are supposed to transfer the tree’s vitality and fertility to the women.

In the Greek Island of Corfu, on the morning of Holy Saturday, the traditional “pot throwing” takes place: people throw pots, pans and other earthenware out of their windows, smashing them on the street. Some believe the throwing of the pots welcomes Spring, symbolizing the new crops that will be gathered in the new pots.

France has a fun, out of box tradition in Haux, a southern town. Each year a giant (GIANT) omelet is served up in the main square. The omelet is cooked with more than 4,500 eggs and can feed up to 1,000 people. The history behind this tradition: when Napoleon and his army were traveling through the south of France, they stopped in small towns and ate omelets. Napoleon liked his so much that he ordered the townspeople to gather their eggs and make a giant omelet for his army the next day, and voila.

What Easter Tradition do you partake in? Also, I’m getting hungry. Who wants brunch?

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