Written by Meghan Zuvelek,
Last Modified: 31st March 2021

From water-fights, to endangered species and skeleton dances, find out about the most unique Easter traditions around the world.

If you think Easter is the same all around the world, think again. Although there are common themes during the largest event on the Christian calendar, many countries have found a unique way to honour the holiday by fusing their culture with unique religious rituals. From Easter bilbys to water-fights, bamboo whipping and skeleton dances, find out the unique ways that different countries celebrate Easter around the world.

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From Easter bilbys to water-fights, bamboo whipping and skeleton dances, find out the unique ways that different countries celebrate Easter around the world.

Poland

In Poland the Easter tradition of Smingus-Dyngus is celebrated with water fights erupting throughout the country, as men launch a water crusade on bystanders all in the name of fun and Christianity. The water symbolises baptism and this tradition, which takes place every Easter Monday, is a light-hearted and friendly event. Legend says a girl who gets soaked during Smingus-Dyngus will marry within the year.

Finland

In Finland there is a tradition of building bonfires, which take place on Easter Sunday to ward off witches and evil spirits that are believed to fly around between Good Friday and Easter Monday. Children with sooty faces and scarves around their heads go door-to-door begging in the streets in exchange for casting a good spell to ward off witches.

France

Each Easter Monday in the South of France a giant omelette is served up for everyone in the town to enjoy. This tradition originates from the days of Napoleon when he was travelling through France and ordered villages to prepare a omelette large enough to feed his entire army.

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Australia

Many Australians reject the Easter bunny and instead celebrate the Easter bilby. The bilby is a small endangered rodent in Australia and animal welfare groups use Easter as a way to raise donations to support endangered animals in the country. So what’s the grudge against the Easter bunny? Many farming communities faced crop devastation due to rabbit infestations; because of this, the rabbit is considered a pest and a bad omen.

Many Australian’s reject the Easter Bunny and instead celebrate the Easter bilby.

Greece

It may not surprise you that in Greece Easter is celebrated by the throwing of pots and pans. Traditional pot throwing takes place on Holy Saturday. Many believe the tradition is meant to symbolize the welcoming of Spring where old pots are replaced by new, which will soon be welcoming new crop harvests.

Pots being thrown from balconies during Easter celebrations in Greece (D_Zheleva / Shutterstock.com)

Spain

In the town of Verges in Spain skeletons come out of the closet and join together for the “danse la mort” (Dance of the Dead), which is a dance party that lasts until the wee hours of the morning. This tradition takes place on Holy Thursday and involves a procession of skeletons carrying boxes of ashes parading through the village, then performing a re-enactment of The Passion.

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Philippines

As a form of worship, leading up to Easter, dedicated Christians participate in a half-naked parade through the streets, while whipping their backs with bamboo sticks as a penance for their sins. This public display is meant to replicate the suffering of Jesus and is believed to cleanse the soul and release illness from the body.

The most significant Christian holiday of Easter sure has spawned some unique traditions around the world. Here at the Overseas Guides Company we love embracing local cultures and customs. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live in a different country, make sure to check out our expert guides to help plan, research, move and buy property abroad.

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