By: Kris Kleinknight
WOW – we’re through the first quarter of 2017; Spring is finally here; North Carolina won the Final Four and Easter is in two weeks!
I’m super excited for Easter Sunday! In an effort to help with my group’s Easter egg clues; I was searching for Easter facts or trivia and came across other Easter traditions from around the world. Here’s a few:
French children don’t get treats from the Easter bunny; they get them from the Easter bells. According to Catholic teaching, no church bells can ring between Holy Thursday and the Easter Vigil. Eventually, a legend evolved that said the church bells weren’t rung because they grew wings and flew to Rome to be blessed by the Pope. Then they returned Easter day with chocolate and presents for local kids.
On Pasqua (‘Easter’ in Italian), residents of Florence celebrate a 350-year-old tradition called scoppio del carro, which means ‘explosion of the cart.’ A centuries-old cart is loaded with fireworks and pulled in front of the Duomo, where spectators watch the pyrotechnics go off. It’s meant to be a sign of peace and a good year ahead. South of Florence is the town Panicale, where the big celebration happens the day after Easter (called Pasquetta, or little Easter). Locals gather for the annual Ruzzolone, a competition that involves rolling huge wheels of Ruzzola cheese around the perimeter of the village.
The day before Easter, families prepare a ‘blessing basket.’ It’s filled with colored eggs, sausages, bread, and other important food and taken to church to be blessed. In Polish culture, Lent isn’t over until a priest blesses this basket. Like their Italian neighbors, the Polish save their most notable tradition for the day after Easter: Smigus Dyngus. Young boys try to get girls (and each other) wet with water guns, buckets of water, and any other means they can think of. Legend has it that girls who get soaked will marry within the year.
Many Latin American countries, Brazil, and certain regions of Spain participate in The Burning of Judas. Residents make an effigy (or multiple effigies) of Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, and burn it in a central location. Sometimes, people make the effigy explode with fireworks.
A famous tradition is egg jarping. Two players smash hard-boiled eggs together, and whoever has the egg that’s still intact is the winner. The World Jarping Championships are held each Easter in Durham, England.
My traditional Easter starts with Sunrise Service, then off to the world’s greatest gathering of friends and family. We have a scrumptious brunch of Eggs Benedict prepared from a secret family recipe; a glorious spread of extras that rivals anything from Martha Stewart; Bloody Mary’s and the grand finale of all – our annual Eggstravaganza Egg Hunt. Our 100 plastic eggs are filled with clues or points or questions and hidden VERY well. We then take turns opening each egg and whomever ends up with the most points at the end wins!