Here in London, we all love Easter for one reason really….CHOCOLATE!!
Come on! We are all friends here …. so we can be honest 🙂
Easter gives us the perfect excuse to eat loads of it without feeling guilty.
But is Easter just all about chocolate? Let’s check out how some of our fellow Londoners might celebrate Easter based on their origins.
By the way, we know Easter is a religious festivity but let’s detach ourselves from that here. We are more interested in the fact that this is an occasion for families to come together and celebrate.
In London, things are pretty simple: people offer each other Easter eggs that are made of chocolate (often filled with sweets). Children also hunt for Easter eggs (= more chocolate) that are hidden in their homes or gardens. And of course, just like during Christmas, they enjoy spending time together.
Now, let’s look at 5 other international ways (spread across the Globe) people celebrate Easter….
- Since we have a Bulgarian person in our team, we’ll start by looking at the Bulgarian way of celebrating Easter. In Bulgaria Easter comes on the 1st of May this year. Which gives Bulgarians in London the option to celebrate Easter twice 🙂 The festivities usually involve painting eggs with special edible paint and having egg fights (see ours here). And before we hear you squeak “Yikes, egg fights! That must be messy”, we must clarify a few things. First, the eggs are hard boiled before being painted. And second, the eggs are not thrown in the air (like you just don’t care 🙂 ), but rather carefully held in hand. So people would knock the heads or bottoms of their eggs together and whoever comes out of this “fight” with an unbroken egg is the winner. It is believed that this signifies strength and health for the rest of the year. Once the fights are over, the family would peel them and have them with Kozunak (sweet bread, similar to Panetone, but without sultanas inside).
- In the Czech Republic, there is a spanking tradition that happens on Easter Monday.
Yeah, now we have your attention!…
But this is not the type of spanking you have in mind. Men whip women with a handmade whip (called pomlazka in Czech). This is a gentle whip around the legs not one that should cause pain. The whips are made of pussywillow (yes that truly is the name of that plant!) and are decorated with ribbons. The idea of the pomlazka is to drive away illnesses and bad spirits and bring youth and happiness to anyone who is whipped with it. Hence why women are whipped with it. You see men too can have good hearts. In the past, the idea was simple… the boys sang to the girls (usually asking for one egg or more in the song, how subtle…). Girls would reward the boys with a painted egg and also tie a ribbon around the pomlazka. The boys would go around their villages with their bags filled up with eggs and their pomlazkas decorated with many ribbons. This was the tradition. This still happens to some extent today, but now the eggs and the candies are being replaced by money and shot of plum brandy (called slivovice). As you can imagine, that makes for a jolly day going around villages….Hic!
- On the African continent, Easter is also seen as a social celebration and an occasion for families to come together. Luxurious meals made of rice and chicken or meat are cooked. Children are also given gifts to celebrate Easter. This definitely sounds like Christmas!
- In Denmark, there is a little (unique Danish) tradition called ‘teaser letter’ (gækkebreve in Danish) in which mainly children take part. They write anonymous teaser messages signed with a number of dots that correspond to the number of letters in the sender’s name. The receiver has to guess who the sender is. If he/she does then the reward will be…. a chocolate egg!!! If the receiver does not guess then he/she will owe the sender a chocolate egg. Of course it’s not just about the tease, the Danes also enjoy a nice heartily meal with family (and sometimes even friends) made of herring + other fish, as well as various hot dishes, meat and cheese.
- In Bermuda, there is a very unique tradition that consists of flying coloured kites on Good Friday.
Flying kites has become something very important that brings people together during Easter and it is quite hard to get people’s attention once the kites are in the air. There is one way though…. and that is to bring them some tasty Easter food, such as: codfish cakes and hot cross buns!
Other than that they would not be distracted. So, in Bermuda they are not ‘hooked’ on chocolate but on other foods. No matter what it is, apparently, we all have our Easter addictions.
Easter is a truly international festivity, celebrated in different (and sometimes very unique) manners around the world.
Here at London Undiscovered, we like to keep it simple…. we’re off to eating our fridge full of chocolate.
Actually, that’s what we do all year round. We just crank it up a notch during Easter! (psst, Sandra is a chocoholic 🙂 )
Happy Easter everybody! 🙂
Vesel Velik Den! (in Bulgarian)
Veselé Velikonoce! (in Czech)
Pasaka njema (in Swahili)
God påske (in Danish)
Happy Easter (in Bermudian, yes really!)
Are you a Londoner originally from a foreign country? If yes, how do you celebrate Easter when you’re in London?