Written by Isaac Davis
Millions wait impatiently for the long Easter weekend and the beginning of April. Groups of various faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds gather with families and engage in an equally diverse array of Easter traditions – chocolate eggs are the tip of the iceberg!
Moving first to Western Europe, the French annually celebrate Easter Monday by producing the world’s largest omelette, cracking 4500 eggs to serve over 1000 Haux residents. An equally enjoyable Easter meal is served in Russia, accompanied by a pat of butter shaped into a lamb. The image of the lamb is used to represent the devil’s antithesis; a sign of good luck. Such symbolism is an important component of many Easter celebrations. In Australia, conservation efforts harness this opportunity to raise awareness for the dwindling Bilby population. Chocolate likenesses are made of this small Australian-native marsupial, with a proportion of profits directed into rehabilitation efforts.
However, not all traditions are so holistic. Cypriotes often descend into violence over the Easter period. While younger children enjoy egg hunts, violent physical contests are more common for teenagers. After these skirmishes abate a hunt for scraps of wood takes place. Large bonfires offer bragging rights though due to limited supplies of tinder a police presence is often necessary to break-up wood-related conflict. While such exploits may seem unusual to us, misinterpretation is often a hard pitfall to avoid. This is particularly evident with the Easter traditions in the Czech Republic. Here, men are gifted a special whip that they use to lightly swat women throughout Easter. However, this is by no means an act of violence rather it is used somewhat like a Valentine’s card, with a light whip representing affection and the beauty of the women. While this may seem a little confronting, it is often considered offensive not to be whipped!
Whether you spend Easter cracking 4500 eggs at the MYO omelette station or lazily reclining at home waiting for discount chocolates, give a moment of thought to the significance of this long weekend. However you choose to engage with Easter, and whatever traditions you uphold (if any) it is undeniably uplifting to think of so many sharing a common holiday.