Easter has been commercially associated with chocolate eggs and fluffy bunnies but in truth, there's a lot more to the religious festival than just desserts and merriment. It is deep seeded in traditions and customs which, till today, are celebrated all over the world. Before Easter arrives this weekend, learn a little more about these 6 traditions which are practiced across the world.
1. Egg Hunts
In many countries, eggs are dyed in different shades and hidden in gardens so that children can carry out egg hunts on Easter Sunday. The White House has been conducting an egg rolling event on its lawns since 1878. As the feast is associated with new life, eggs have been symbolic of it for centuries now and their dyeing started as a gift idea for families and friends.
2. Hot Cross Bun
Good Friday, i.e. the Friday of the holy weekend, is when many choose to fast and abstain. However, a treat on the day is hot cross buns - buns with currants and a cross baked into on top. This sweet treat is meant to signify the 40 days of Lent coming to a close and the arrival of Easter one day later.
3. Death Dance
In Spain's Verges town, a dance of death is celebrated until the wee hours on Maundy Thursday, i.e the Thursday of the holy weekend. Called the dance of death, the macabre parade marches through the town with revelers dressed as skeletons, with its message being that death is the ultimate leveler.
4. Egg Baskets
The tradition of using baskets to collect eggs finds its roots in Germany's Osterhase or Easter hare legend. The story goes that an old woman had decorated eggs and hidden them for her children. Once they found it, they saw a large hare hopping away and thought it was he who placed the eggs. To lure the bunny, people placed nests or baskets to lure it to come with coloured eggs.
5. Crime For Easter
Not actual crime, don't be alarmed. In Norway, a tradition called 'Paskekrim' or 'Easter crime' followed where folks catch up on crime thrillers, mystery shows and detective novels. Its roots are unclear but, channels even release crime specials during this period and it has been celebrated in the country since the 1920s.
6. Get Out Of Jail CardComments
If you're jailed and catholic in Spain during Easter, you might be in luck. The country gives us another whimsical traditional that pardons a few from jail on the day. It originated in 1759 when Easter processions were cancelled due to an outbreak of the plague. Inmates of Malaga's prison broke out in protest, carried Jesus' image with them through the streets and returned back, which was an Easter miracle. King Charles III was so impressed, he released two dozen inmates, which was followed since then.