Easter is a bit of a weird holiday. It lands on different dates every year, and depending on which religion one follows, these dates also shift around even further. Despite being a predominantly religious celebration, a lot of cultures have managed to inject a healthy dose of craziness into the mix to make it a bit less serious overall. Here are some of our all time favorites!
Dance of Death
In a small Catalan town named Verges, barely a few miles inland from the world famous Costa Brava, we find one of the most atmospheric and creepy Easter celebrations in the book. Despite its oddly convenient name (Verges literally translates to Virgins), there are no holy virgins to be seen when the night falls over this picturesque village. When the hour is right, townsfolk gather in the streets dressed up as skeletons wielding scythes, flaming torches, and dancing to the beat of ominous drums in a celebration that seems lifted from the underworld itself.
No Easter bunnies to be seen here.
The Butter Lambs
Russia is old and vast, and with a population density orders of magnitude below other European countries, ancient traditions and superstition still hold a firm grasp over the more remote and isolated regions of the country. In some of these, the Easter meal is accompanied by a slab of butter in the shape of a lamb. Traditionally, the only disguise that Satan can’t use is that of a lamb, so you can be sure that you’re not sharing a delicious meal with the Dark Lord himself. Better safe than sorry after all!
In the island of New Guinea, they seem to have abandoned the idea of fooling around with chocolate eggs favor of a somewhat less healthy tradition. The origin remains unclear, but for some reason, they line the trees in front of churches with cigarettes, and proceed to have a nice relaxing smoke after the ceremonies end. While it’s not very Easter-like, it will definitely keep your weight under control.
As fun as it can be to decorate Easter eggs with plenty of colors and shapes, the Greeks have decided to be a little more straightforward and paint their eggs blood red. It kind of makes sense, as the blood of Christ is a strong element in the religious context of Easter tradition. Unfortunately, it makes them a bit more difficult to conceal, as they stand out like a sore thumb wherever you stick them, so there goes the egg hiding game.
In Bulgaria they don’t paint all their eggs blood red like the Greeks, but every now and then, there is one that ends up as red as it gets, and as soon as it’s finished, it has a target. Old women that have painted a red egg will rub it in the faces of young children in the hopes that it will give them rose cheeks and an overall healthy life. Rumor has it that when the effect is not perceived to be successful, the old lady will “accidentally” break the red egg and splatter its contents on the child’s face for a bit of extra boost. Absolutely adorable.