Ah, Easter. A religious celebration to many, an excuse to overindulge on candies, ham, and Peeps to others. It's a celebration of spring; a time when pastels override dark colors, a holiday that serves as the gateway into summer. Between Easter egg hunts, leaving carrots for the Easter bunny, and filling cheap baskets full of chocolaty goodness, traditions are abundant. What holiday doesn't have its share?
But it's not the norm that we're here to discuss. It's not the egg dyeing, bunny visiting, sugar covered marshmallows that we're worried about. It's the traditions you don't hear of, the ones that make you shiver from fear, shake your head, or cringe in disgust. The ones that make you wonder- are we really talking about Easter Sunday?
1. Whipping Wives
Wife-beaters aren't just an undershirt. It's apparently a term used
lightly this time of year in places like the Czech Republic, Hungary and
Slovakia. It's a tradition there that on Easter Monday, the men throw
water at the women, and spank or whip them in response. The crafty
little buggers make their own whips and everything. Supposedly this
tradition is held so that the women keep their health and beauty in the
coming year. How does that saying go? Pain is beauty?
2. Oh, Christmas Tree
In Germany, it's tradition to create an Easter fire out of the used
Christmas trees from the previous winter. I don't know about you, but
the thought of having a fire in the middle of April in South Florida,
well, that's one tradition I think we can all agree is worth skipping.
3. The Anti-Bunny
While the United States is accustomed to celebrating Easter with the
thought of fluffy bunnies, Australians instead recognize their native
marsupial, the Bilby, as the unofficial mascot of Easter. Apparently
Australians have serious beef against rabbits and would rather not be
reminded that this pest even exists. Talk about harsh, Peter Cottontail.
4. Trick or Treat
Children running ragged in witch costumes begging for candy? Must be
Halloween, right? Not if you're in Sweden. There, Easter is
traditionally associated with Walpurgis Night, an age old celebration
that is highlighted by bonfires to chase away evil spirits and,
ironically, witches. It's very similar to October 31st and completely
wipes out the mental image of a pink and blue Easter party.
5. Hang 'em High
Effigies of Judas don't stand a chance in many Catholic/Orthodox
communities in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Mexico. Many of the
townspeople actually hold a fake trial a few days before Easter, leaving
it hung by the neck leading up until the Sunday celebration. Then they
burn him. Some of the younger generations actually fill the dummy with
fireworks. Move over July 4th, Easter is coming to town, complete with
6. Polish Know Best
In Poland, it's not so much a single tradition that's strange: It's a
whole bunch of them looped into one. On Good Friday, don't even think
about slaughtering animals, baking bread, or using a comb. This goes
hand in hand with the man of the house being excluded from baking Easter
bread because his mustache would go gray and the dough would go flat.
Duh. But don't forget to spread horseradish paste on everything in site.
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It's believed to give protection against throat diseases, illnesses,
and general complains.