People in Cyprus scavenge wood from all around their towns to build giant fires in church and school yards in an attempt to outdo the efforts of surrounding villages!
Decorated eggs are hung from trees to make “Easter Egg Trees”. Also wells are decorated (called “Osterbrunnen” meaning Easter Well or Easter Fountain) to honour water, the source of life at the start of spring.
In keeping with tradition, men spank women (not hard – it isn’t supposed to hurt!) with special whips called ‘pomlázka’ in Czech and ‘korbáč’ in Slovak in order to allow women to keep their health and beauty throughout the coming year.
Many Polish Catholics have “The Butter Lamb” at their Easter meal. Butter is shaped to resemble a lamb by hand or using a mould and then eaten – leaving the head until last.
Food baskets containing bread, coloured eggs, ham, horseradish and “potica” (a type of nut cake) are covered with a handmade cloth and brought to Church to be blessed, then eaten!
On Easter Monday or “Watering Monday”, Hungarians sprinkle water or perfume on one another in exchange for Easter Eggs.
On Holy Saturday everyone “fights” their eggs by bashing them into one another until only one remains un-cracked. The winner is named the “borak” (fighter) and is kept until next Easter as a sign of good luck.
Florence in Italy is home to the “Scoppio Del Carro”. Ancient stone flints said to be from Jerusalem are used by the Cardinal of Florence to ignite a giant cart full of fireworks outside Piazza del Duomo during the singing of ‘Gloria in excelsis Deo” during Easter Mass.
Traditionally Norwegians create, watch and read murder mystery stories en masse! All major TV channels run movies, or whole TV series of “Påskekrim” (Easter Crime) and stories are printed in magazines and even on milk cartons.
Children dress up as witches and go door to door blessing houses with decorated willow branches in exchange for candy or money.