Six Weird Easter Traditions Involving Explosives, Domestic Abuse, and Horseradish

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.

It's believed to give protection against throat diseases, illnesses,

and general complains.

--Andrea Albin

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