At home we eat ham and decorate eggs, but Easter around the world can involve crime novels and buckets of water.

In the United States we celebrate Easter with a variety of customs.  We decorate and hunt for Easter eggs, make baskets filled with chocolate and Marshmallow Peeps, and we enjoy a big Easter brunch or dinner with our friends and family. Many cities, including New York, hold Easter parades where everyone shows off their stylish attire or outrageous costumes.  Young children eagerly await the arrival of the Easter bunny, which brings candy and decorated eggs.  While many countries have traditions involving rabbis and eggs, Easter around the world often looks much different that here. In Poland they have a tradition called Smingus-Dyngus that involves boys and men trying to douse people with water from buckets and squirt guns on the day after Easter.  Legend says that women who get soaked by water will be married within the year.  This practice dates back to the baptism of Prince Mieszko in 966 A.D. on Easter Monday.  In Haux, France the town makes a giant omelette that contains over 4,500 eggs and feeds 1,000 people.  It is said that this tradition comes from Napoleon, who stopped to eat in the city with his army and ordered the townspeople to gather up all their eggs and make a giant omelette to feed them again the next day. In Norway Easter is a popular time for people to read crime novels and every year publishers release special “Easter thrillers.”  The story says that this started in 1923 when a publisher took out a number of ads on the front pages of newspapers in order to promote a new book.  They were designed to look like news and were so effective that people didn’t know it was a publicity stunt.   In Finland children paint their faces and dress up like Easter witches.  They go from door to door offering decorated willow twigs that ward off evil and get treats in exchange. Whatever Easter traditions you may practice, enjoy the day in good health with your loved ones!

 

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