The strangest Easter traditions from around the world
Easter is almost here, and for those who haven’t done so yet, it’s time to start thinking about how best to spend the holiday. If you’re tired of celebrating home with chocolate bunnies and feel like enjoying the extended weekend someplace else, Babbel – the most effective language learning app – will introduce you to a couple of interesting destinations where Easter is celebrated in different ways.
For some, the Easter holidays are the perfect time to relax and forget the stress of everyday life; for others, it’s the ideal moment to give into their passions and enjoy their love of music. For heavy metal lovers, for example, Oslo is an excellent destination. Every year, the city celebrates the Inferno Metal Festival, the largest festival in Norway dedicated solely to this musical genre. More than 40 bands from all around the world perform live for their fans over four days. Several venues in the city also promote various music-related events, creating a unique atmosphere for heavy metal enthusiasts.
When someone mentions France, we usually think of Paris… few of us have ever heard of Châtelaillon-Plage. This pleasant spa town located in western France is the perfect destination for those who want to spend the holidays with their loved ones. Every year, the three-day long Festival of Kites and Wind is celebrated on Châtelaillon beach. The town offers a series of events for the entire family, with kite-flying demonstrations of all kinds and practical lessons on how to fly them. There are also activities for children, such as workshops to learn how to make your own kites.
New York, USA
New York is undoubtedly one of the most symbolic cities of the United States and should be visited at least once in a lifetime. The Big Apple offers numerous attractions throughout the year, but during Easter you can enjoy the Easter Bonnet Festival. This fun parade takes place every year on Fifth Avenue and draws a huge crowd of people in all manner of colourful costumes, vying to win the most extravagant hat competition. The parade begins at 11 am and goes on until late at night – a typical display of New York eccentricity.
If you prefer to spend Holy Week by the sea and catch a first taste of summer, Greece offers several options. Among the most attractive destinations at this time is the island of Corfu. In addition to the beauty of the island and of the Ionian Sea, on the morning of Holy Saturday a very special party is held. It involves throwing terracotta pots from the windows – an original way to welcome spring and get rid of old objects. Whoever watches the spectacle from the streets can keep the pot fragments as symbols of good luck.
For those of you who aren’t afraid of cold weather and want to spend Easter contemplating art, the city of Simrishamn hosts a week in which more than ninety artists from Skåne, in southern Sweden, open their homes and studios to the public. It’s an excellent opportunity to discover local art and meet the artists in person. True art lovers can also find fascinating works to take home as souvenirs.
During the month of April, Berlin not only celebrates Easter, but also the arrival of spring. From the last week of March to mid-April, the city hosts the Spring Festival or *Frühlingsfest*, which opens the season for outdoor cultural, food and wine events. The festival brings together many food vendors offering a variety of typical local delicacies. The city also offers many other attractions and activities for adults and children looking to enjoy outdoor activities.
If you’re looking for a surreal and slightly dark atmosphere, then Verges, a small, medieval Spanish town, is the perfect destination. On Holy Thursday they celebrate the Dance of Death, a parade in which five actors disguised as skeletons run through the streets under the dim light of torches placed on the façades of the houses. This tradition is said to have begun after a medieval epidemic, to encourage the villagers to dedicate more time to prayer. The performance also includes a dance that starts at midnight and continues until the early hours of the morning.
Texistepeque, El Salvador
For those interested in attending an eccentric spectacle, the Salvadoran town of Texistepeque might be the ideal destination. Every year, during Holy Week, it holds a procession in which the “Talciguines” – men dressed like the devil – walk through the streets of the city whipping passers-by: it’s a ritual that symbolizes the fight between Jesus and the devil. At the end of the procession, the Talciguines surrender to Jesus and fall to the ground, where they remain for hours under the scorching sun while friends and family cool them off with water from time to time.
Hungary is a country rich in ancient traditions, which are celebrated by its inhabitants with great enthusiasm. If you’re a nostalgic person, Hollókő – a small town in northeastern Hungary – should be your pick. The city has a very interesting tradition in which boys throw scented water at girls on Easter Sunday. It’s supposed to bring good luck to young girls, who are supposedly granted a bright future, and was originally considered a declaration of love.
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