Easter may or may not be your favorite holiday, based on your childhood memories. Most families have their own unique traditions which may have been passed down over the years, or were simply made up in a moment of silliness.
For those of us living in North America, we're pretty familiar with the usual Easter traditions. We have the Easter bunny who brings Easter eggs and other treats to children and some communities have Easter egg hunts.
But the bunny and eggs aren't the only traditions out there. Here are 9 weird Easter traditions from around the world that will definitely make your holiday infinitely more interesting.
1. Go trick or treatin'
Country of Origin: Denmark and Finland
On Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter), children in Denmark and Finland dress up as witches and, holding small twigs decorated with colorful paper, go from door to door trick or treatin'. In exchange for the candy
they receive from neighbors, children are expected to give them their decorated twigs. The branches are expected to bless the house of the neighbor and is also seen as a payment for the sweets.
2. Read murder mystery novels
Country of Origin: Norway
In Norway, people either spend Easter reading murder mystery novels or watching murder mystery films with their families. The tradition started many years ago when a mystery novel writer published an advertisement for his book on the front page of a newspaper during Easter.
This tradition is so popular that many TV stations in Norway only show murder mysteries during the holiday. Milk companies also publish mini-mystery stories on their cartons in the week leading up to the day.
3. Burn your Christmas tree
Country of Origin: Germany
In communities across Germany, people stack up their Christmas trees in a large pile and set fire to them during Easter. Burning the trees is thought to signify, and celebrate, the end of the cold Christmas season and the emergence of the warmer spring.
It is considered especially lucky if your burning pile gets struck by lightning. Chances are, you won't be allowed to set fire to your Christmas tree in the middle of the street. Perhaps you can throw a branch in your fireplace instead.
4. Play the egg jarping game
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Egg jarping is an age-old Easter tradition played all around the United Kingdom. The game involves two players who hold their eggs with the pointed end facing their opponent. Their opponent brings their eggs down to hit the other player's, an act which is called a 'dunch'.
The main idea is you're supposed to successfully crack your opponent's egg and move on to the next round until there are no more eggs left. As the eggs are hard boiled, it's usually clean, harmless fun. Egg jarping is taken very seriously in the UK, with annual championship organized ever year. Now you can gather your friends and family and have your own tournament.
5. Have a water fight
Country of Origin: Poland
Polish people celebrate Easter Monday with a giant water fight in the streets. The tradition is called Smigus-Dyngus and originates from a legend around the baptism of Prince Mieszko in 966 AD.
Although everyone is encouraged to participate, boys are expected to target girls and shower them with water. It is believed that if a girl gets soaked in water during this game, she will be married later that year.
6. Fly a kite and eat some fish
Country of Origin: Bermuda
Bermudians spend the Easter holiday creating elaborate kites which they fly on Good Friday. The tradition was started years ago when a British Army Sunday School teacher wanted to illustrate Jesus' ascension to Heaven.
He made a kite with a cross shape on it and the tradition stuck. They also eat codfish cakes and hot cross buns which are considered traditional Easter foods.
7. Burn a Judas effigy and set off some fireworks
Country of Origin: Mexico
One popular tradition in Mexico is the burning of the Judas effigy. As he is considered the betrayer of Jesus, the burning represents the punishment awaiting him in a different realm.
To make it more dramatic, Mexicans sometimes fill the effigies with fireworks so they go off when the fire is set. Other countries who burn the Judas effigies include Venezuela, Crete, Greece, Portugal and Spain.
8. Make sourdough bread
Country of Origin: Ethiopia
In Ethiopia, families make a traditional sourdough bread called Dabo. Traditionally, the bread is cut by a priest or the head male in the family. It is then cut in pieces so any neighbor or loved one who visits on that day is given a piece to take away.
This peaceful tradition is a great way to bring communities together. Making sourdough bread can be daunting but if you're up for the challenge, here is a recipe for Dabo bread that you can try in your home.
9. Have a carnival!
Country of Origin: Nigeria
Nigerians across the country spill out on to the streets for a loud, colorful carnival every year at Easter. Carnivals were popularized by Brazilians who settled on an island in Nigeria years ago and has since been adapted to celebrate Easter.
Revelers dress in elaborate costumes and dance in the streets with regular folks. We have a feeling your neighbors will love the idea of an Easter street party!
Will you be trying any of these traditions this year?