Easter is nearly here and, whether you’ll be eating your weight in chocolate or not, chances are you will celebrate in some way. If you are bored of chocolate eggs and bunnies, here is some inspiration from around the world on how you can celebrate Easter with a twist.
In Albania, religion was banned until 1991 under a strict regime. Despite this, every Easter, members of the Orthodox Church would hard boil eggs and paint them red to represent the blood of Christ. These are given as gifts and saved until Easter Sunday when they are cracked open. Albanian youths will also wear red and white braided bracelets made of thread around their wrists. At Easter, they hang them on the branches of a tree in the hope that a bird will use them for its nest. This practice is traditionally said to bring fertility, good fortune, and luck.
In some European countries, it’s traditional to light large bonfires on top of hillsides and gather around to celebrate the eve of Easter. This harks back to pagan traditions that celebrate the spring equinox, associated with rebirth, fertility, and renewal.
Great Britain takes Easter very seriously and schoolchildren around the country will take part in Easter egg hunts, Easter bunny races, and will make decorative baskets and bonnets to wear for the occasion. Daffodils are usually aligned with the holiday, and chocolate eggs are exchanged.
In Malta, during Holy Week, a number of sombre processions take place throughout the country. But it’s not all doom and gloom! The figolli, an almond-flavoured biscuit, is eaten in abundance and red-painted eggs are placed inside homes to provide protection. Easter Sunday is a big event that includes a family meal of lamb and potatoes followed by a series of parties that go on until the early hours.
Things get pretty odd in Russia however. The Easter dinner enjoyed by family and friends is accompanied by a lamb sculpted out of butter! This is due to the belief that lambs are lucky, therefore having one at the table will bring luck. There isn’t much information on why it needs to be made from butter, however!
The French town of Haux also has a rather weird tradition. Every Easter Monday, townspeople break some 4500 eggs into a very big pan and create an omelette that feeds around 1000 people. Every family of the town breaks the eggs in their home before meeting in the town square to cook them together.
Did you know that if you wear new clothes at Easter, it’s supposed to bring you good luck? This is due to the symbolism of Easter in reference to rebirth, new life and resurrection. The Easter holidays often include some time off to indulge in entertainment and one way to do that is to play fun bingo and slots games. Maybe if you put on your best new ‘lucky’ clothes beforehand, you’ll truly feel like you’re joining in with the festivities!