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5 Easter Customs From Europe

Easter bunnies and hunting for eggs is not for everyone.

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1. Finland

Niklas Meltio / Lehtikuva / Via

Finnish Easter traditions mix religious references with customs related to the long-awaited arrival of spring. In the most popular family tradition, young children (especially girls) dress up as Easter witches, donning colourful old clothes and painting freckles on their faces. “The little witches then go from door to door, bringing willow twigs decorated with colourful feathers and crepe paper as blessings to drive away evil spirits, in return for treats

2. Corfu, Greece


On the morning of Holy Saturday, the traditional "pot throwing" takes place on the Greek island of Corfu; the residents throw clay pitchers from all the balconies in every home of the island.

The origin of the custom, which lasts for several minutes, is not entirely clear, one theory says that it has its roots in the time Venetian rule when people used to threw their old things away at new year in the hope that the coming year will bring them better and newer replacements.

Another theory says that in ancient Greece people threw away their old pitchers in April, to fill the new ones with fresh fruits, celebrating this way the beginning of the farming season.

3. Verges, Spain


The Procession of Verges, composed of a series of theatrical performances, has taken place since ancient times, with documentary evidence of it dating back to 1666. The procession begins after the first performance in the main square (Plaça Major), which ends with Jesus being condemned to death. Towards midnight, the scenes of Christ's journey to Calvary are represented along the streets of Verges in semi-darkness, lit only by burning torches and a series of snail shells turned into oil lamps on Carrer dels Cargols (Street of Snails). One of the high points of the procession is the eagerly awaited Dance of Death, one of the most important symbols of the town and its popular culture, performed by five skeletons leaping to the sound of a drum.

4. Poland


Pouring water on one another is a Polish Easter tradition called Śmigus-dyngus. The day is dominated by public water fights and everyone is given carte blanche to drench anyone they see with water.

5. Sicily, Italy


The Devils Dance in Prizzi: the "Ballo dei Diavoli" dates back to an ancient pagan tradition maintained by the Christian religion. It remembers the eternal struggle between good and evil. During the morning of the Easter day, the Dead, with a yellow cloth and two devils with red clothes walk through the town. This noisy group stops people and symbolically captures their souls. During the afternoon the devils attempt to prevent the meeting between the statues of Jesus and the Madonna. But when the two statues meet, the devils are driven away by the angels while the musical band plays happy songs.

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