By Amanda Pizzolatto (Rated G)
The sun rises in a blaze of light on Easter morn. Hallelujah, for He is risen! Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, bells are ringing, and chocolate ears are being eaten. Meanwhile, the Easter Bunny is hiding brightly-colored Easter Eggs for the children, a tradition brought to America from Dutch immigrants, though the now-famous bunny originally began as a fox. But what about other countries? Not everyone celebrates Easter the same way, because no two cultures are exactly the same. But that’s the fun of it.
For many, the meat of choice is lamb, in honor of the Passover lamb, but if lamb can’t be had, whatever meat that can be dressed up as nicely as the lady of the house’s Easter bonnet will do. And most places will host a parade, ranging from the solemn procession commemorating the Passion of Christ to people dressing up in their Sunday finest to parade around like peacocks, showing off their newest clothes in celebration of Christ’s victory over death and representing the new life His bloodshed clothes us with.
Did you hear, did you hear? The bells have left the steeples in France and flown to the Vatican City to be blessed by the Pope! At least, that’s how the legend goes in France, and they come back Easter morn full of treats for good little boys and girls, coming to a screeching halt at the border of Germany before rushing back to their homes in time to be rung for Easter morning Mass. It’s as ridiculous as eight tiny reindeer carrying a huge bag of presents around America, but it’s certainly equally as magical to imagine. Meanwhile, in one tiny village in France, the biggest omelet is made. The legend behind this is that Napoleon stopped in this village and found the eggs so delicious that he ordered the largest omelet made for the next day, which was Easter, and the tradition stayed.
France isn’t the only country that doesn’t have an Easter Bunny that brings kids treats and hides eggs on Easter morn. In Australia, it’s a bilby. A bilby is a long-nosed rat native to Australia, and it was chosen to be the animal of Easter for two reasons. One, it’s to raise awareness of it’s near extinction. Two, rabbits are a pest in Australia as they are not a part of the natural ecosystem and are, in a way, driving the bilbies out of their natural habitats. Australians really wish that rabbits had taken that left at Albuquerque, that’s for sure. So while the Easter bunny does a wonderful job for America, give the Easter bilby a try. You could be delightfully surprised!
In Guatemala, the streets start to look different starting Good Friday. Come Easter morning, mini, elaborate, colorful pictures carpet the streets made from flower petals, colored sawdust, fruit, and vegetables. Whoever weaves the pictures together gets to decide what they will be, and each year could be a different picture from the same artists. It is certainly a breathtaking display to behold and a visually creative way to join in the masterpiece that comes every year in spring.
In Norway, however, the traditions of choice are skiing and mystery novels. Skiing, to enjoy the final and best snow of the year, and mystery novels thanks in large part to an advertisement in a newspaper. The advertisement in question promoted a new crime novel by making the ad look like a news article, showcasing some of the clues to be found in the book. The people didn’t know it was a publicity stunt, bought the book, and the tradition was born. So while the rest of the world are decorating eggs, picking flowers, and enjoying the warm, spring days, Norwegians are still sitting by the fire’s glow, getting lost in the pages of a mystery.
So, whether you are searching for eggs, eating chocolate ears, flying kites (Bermuda), or parading around in your finest, Easter has its fair share of colorful traditions as equally as Christmas does. Find out where your tradition comes from, find out about a new one, and enjoy the array of traditions that come every year at Easter, traditions as varied as the flowers that bloom in the garden. Happy Easter!