Easter has always been my favourite time of year – followed closely by Christmas. Perhaps it’s the idea of celebrating; the colours, the decorations, festivities, the delicious food – whatever the reason, I’m in like Flynn when it comes around.
It could also stem from the Time historical books I read as a child – I was lucky enough to have 2 dedicated bookworms as parents. In one of the books – I think it was about tradition and festivals – there were these colour photos of how people from Greece celebrated Easter – in particular, the hand dyed Easter eggs and plaited bread. There was this amazing array of dyed eggs – sky blue, forest green and a deep rich red. I still think it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
Believing in a smorgasbord of tradition and celebration as I do, you can guarantee I’ll be organising Easter egg hunts, buying brightly coloured Easter eggs, scoffing Hot Cross Buns and most likely, cooking a traditional Greek lamb. Believe you me, there is nothing quite like a lemon and garlic infused Greek Lamb to share with loved ones on Easter Sunday.
So, now we’ve got me covered, how do other people celebrate Easter globally? As you’ll see, definitely not the same as chez Shaw, that’s for sure (aha aha).
A few unusual Easter observations are:
Neighbourhood children in Poland practice a particularly joyful Easter Monday tradition. They drench one another with buckets of water (often while the victim is still asleep in bed). One theory attributes the practice to the botanical affections of European pagans, likening the waterlogging of friends to the saturation of the holy Corn Mother.
In Guatemala, communities make beautiful carpets of sawdust and flowers that are usually a mile long. These colourful and extremely detailed carpets take weeks of preparation leading up to Easter. Once it’s Easter, huge processions walk over the carpets as people make their way to the local church where mass is held.
More water splashing takes place at an annual Water Festival in several countries in Southeast Asia. In addition to the simple splashing of water, the Asian cultures’ variation on the Polish practice involves boat races, floating river lanterns, and the dousing of a Buddhist statue. The holiday is rooted in the Dai association of water with religious purity, good luck, and good will. Soaking your friend or neighbour with a hearty splash is meant to bestow him or her with good fortune.
Australians have the ‘Easter Bilby’ instead of the Easter Bunny. This is perhaps to raise awareness for this almost extinct creature. It all depends on your opinion about certain creatures, but I personally think that the Bilby is rather cute!
In Switzerland, people decorate wells and fountains leading up to Easter. Decorating a well symbolizes the honouring of water, which is essential for life, and Easter, the feast of renewed life.
Finally, in Russia, there is a tradition of Butter Lamb. Russians dig into a large piece of butter carved into the shape of a lamb. This tradition is based on the religious idea that lambs are lucky since they were the only animals that Satan could not take a form of.
However you choose to celebrate Easter, I do hope it’s peaceful and blessed.