Despite many modern traditions for Easter originating in America, this holiday is celebrated around the world. Because it won’t kill you to learn about the world outside your borders and/or because it’s nice to see your own country’s traditions on display.
1. Easter Bilby – Australia
While the rest of the world sees bunnies and thinks “Awwww,” Australians look at them and see the decimation of local wildlife because these breeding bastards have no natural predator. To combat this negative response, Australian children receive chocolate Bilbies, which are a native (and endangered) animal.
2. Easter Angels – The Philippines
This tradition starts with two processions. The men are led by an image of Jesus and the women by their own dressed in black as as the Virgin Mary. When the two groups meet in town (usually a church) it symbolizes Jesus comforting his mother after his resurrection. I know I’d be comforted by the knowledge that my son was a zombie. The young girls, dressed as angels despite all Christian depictions of angels being androgynous men, then remove the mourning clothes from Mary and the party begins. (Image via REM)
3. Easter Bread – Italy
A traditional Easter food, usually served for breakfast or as a treat during the day. It is unique in that you add whole, raw eggs to the dough before baking. Eggs are sometimes dyed beforehand to add to the festive nature. Covering something healthy in icing and cake? Why isn’t this shit in America? (image via CinnamonSpice)
4. Ratschen – Austria
In Austria, from Holy Thursday until Easter Sunday, no church bells are rung. According to myth, all the bells fly to Rome to prepare for the resurrection of Jesus. But I think they’re really in Vegas. No matter. In their stead, alter boys use Ratschen (wooden rattles) during services and between prayers. Because kids beating on wooden rattles sounds exactly the same as the dulcet tones of church bells. (image via Ponnholz)
5. Easter Bells – France
If your kids ever ask how the Easter Bunny manages to give candy to every child in the world you can tell them it’s because he skips France. For some reason French tradition states the ringing of the Easter Bells on Sunday morning is what makes the candy and eggs magically appear in children’s baskets. (image via TongueInCheek)
6. Easter Simnel – U.K.
Not entirely sure why the U.K. is hell bent on serving fruit cake for TWO holidays when one is more than enough. Because renaming it and covering it in 12 marzipan balls (to symbolize the apostles) won’t change the fact that it’s a fruit cake.
7. Easter Witches – Sweden
Sweden seems to believe that any holiday with candy deserves costumes. I second this notion. On Easter, children (mostly girls) dress up as witches and paint bright red spots of rouge on their cheeks, for the patron saint Raggedy Ann. All gussied up they then go door to door asking for candy. If anyone knows what the boys dress as, I’d love to know! (image via SwedishScene)
8. Beating Up Judas – Brazil
Brazil by far has the best Easter tradition. Every year across the country straw renditions of Judas are constructed. Locals then proceed to punch, kick and set ablaze effigie of the man who betrayed his best friend for some silver. And if the straw man just happens to have a hated politician’s face pinned to it, who’s to say he doesn’t deserve it?