Outdoors Easter Traditions From Around The World
If you’re in the northern hemisphere you’re rejoicing at the longer days. In the southern hemisphere you’ll be grabbing a last camping fix before the cold sets in. It seems all over the world people have Easter traditions incorporating the outdoors.
Here’s our pick of some lesser-known and more popular activities to celebrate this time of year.
In Germany, Austria and many other countries it’s traditional to hang eggs from trees with ribbon. The Saalfelder Ostereierbaum (Saalfeld Easter Egg Tree) is famous for being decorated with over 10,000 eggs!
If you didn’t want to stretch to that many (understandable), many households bring branches inside to decorate with eggs instead. You can paint your own eggs (wooden, card, plastic or blown out real eggs, if you’re careful) and create a unique Easter tree of your own.
A Swedish tradition dating back to the late 19th Century involves decorating birch trees with bright feathers. Again, you’re more likely to find feathered twigs in vases inside rather than whole trees adorned these days, but either way, it’s a simple, colourful way to celebrate nature.
There is also the tradition of the "påskkärring" to celebrate the Easter witches who fly off to Blåkulla on Maundy Thursday. http://blogs.sweden.se/expat/2011/04/22/blakulla-easter-witches-and-other-true-stories-of-an-obviously-christian-holiday/
Egg rolling is traditional in the UK and many other countries. In the UK it usually involved rolling painted eggs down grassy hills and seeing which egg gets the furthest.
The White House egg roll in the USA doesn’t involve hills – children push their eggs with a wooden spoon and see who can get across the White House lawn first.
You can also set up obstacle egg and spoon races in the garden – over chairs, through paddling pools, through tunnels: just use what you have!
In Italy Pasquetta (Little Easter) is usually spent outside. Easter Monday is a time for gathering with friends and family in parks or gardens, having a feast and playing games.
In Poland the custom of Śmigus-dyngus on Easter Monday involves getting wet! More specifically it involves boys drenching girls in water (and the girls get to return the favour on Tuesday). It may relate to a pagan custom of watering the Corn Mother, to bless the forthcoming planting and harvest. Whatever the origins, a water fight is usually welcomed by smaller people if you are feeling in the mood!
A lesser-known tradition than egg rolling, egg dancing is a tradition dating back to Saxon times in England, and still happens in Ironbridge today. This one is great fun with children: place eggs (real or plastic!) on the ground outside and the children dance around being careful not to stand on the eggs. If you want to do it the Ironbridge way, you could introduce blindfolds and make it even more exciting!
No Easter activity list would be complete without this favourite activity. Eggs symbolise new life and rebirth, and this tradition is practiced in many countries. Simply get the Easter Bunny to hide some eggs, give your children a basket, and off they go out hunting! Egg Hunts now take place in many parks and open spaces across the UK: The National Trust has a wide-ranging Easter programme this year (you may already have heard this in the news recently!)
However you choose to celebrate, we hope you get lots of fresh air and have a very Happy Easter!