One of the more clearly sacred holidays, Easter has traditionally been celebrated on a Sunday in Spring to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. A holy day observed by the Christian church for centuries, the First Council of Nicaea set the date for Easter to be the first Sunday after the full moon following the March equinox. Protestants remember this time of year as the period in which Christ was crucified, died, buried, and raised from the dead. For Catholics, Easter comes at the end of a season of Lent, forty days of fasting, prayer, and penance. A 2012 Barna study concluded that 78% of Americans age 66 and older continue to celebrate Easter as a religious holiday. The same study showed that only 14% of Americans don’t celebrate the holiday at all.
However, as with most holidays, the way they are celebrated changes depending on the time in history and the cultural location. The first thing that comes to mind for most when thinking about Easter is probably not the Christian symbol of the cross, but more likely a large bunny hiding eggs, a favorite meal that is eaten every year, or an Easter parade. Common foods enjoyed in America include deviled eggs, ham, and lamb. Historically, the holiday has some ties to the Jewish Passover, the arrival of Spring, and pagan ideas of fertility as symbolized by the rabbit. Today, the younger generation of Americans recognizes this diversity and 31% of those ages 18-27 don’t associate any religious observances with their Easter traditions. Culturally, people across the globe have produced some pretty bizarre traditions. Both religious and secular, different groups participate in some strange and surprising activities. Check out the list below for some of the most shocking ways people celebrate Easter around the world.
10 Keeping Witches Away in Finland
9 Taking a Bath in Poland and Hungary
8 Thrill-Seeking in Norway
7 Lighting Up in New Guinea
6 Chocolate Bilbies in Australia
5 Throwing Pots in Greece
4 Hunting Easter Bunnies in New Zealand
A twist on the traditional idea of a life-size Easter bunny hiding eggs for children to find, the people of New Zealand are the ones hunting bunnies. A monetary prize is awarded to the person who is able to kill the most bunnies. While this may sound extreme, rabbits are a huge nuisance in the area since they don’t really have any predators. Each year up to 20,000 rabbits are killed, which acts as a form of population control.