The kids have fun munching regardless.
Here in Ireland, Easter is celebrated by families up and down the country, with or without the assistance of a certain oversized bunny.
As we watch the kids unpack Easter eggs the size of an average three-year-old this morning, we are transported back to our childhood, with memories of egg hunts around the garden and chocolate for breakfast suddenly being perfectly acceptable.
But if you’ve ever found yourself in a different country for Easter, you’ll know not everyone relies on such a fluffy deliveryman.
Here’s an interesting list of various Easter traditions from around the world. From Australia’s Easter Bilby, to Sweden’s Easter Witches, who knew there were so many egg-cellent characters worldwide?
In addition to the Easter Bunny, who will hide eggs around the house for the children of Sweden, an old tradition here is the so-called Easter Witch or ‘Påskkärring’. Swedish children dress up as witches or old ladies and go from house to house with pictures they’ve drawn in hopes of receiving some sweets in exchange for their hard work. The Easter Witch is also a tradition in Finland.
In France, there is a lovely Easter story told to children. Since no church bells ring in France from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, legend has it that all the bells fly to Rome on Good Friday. There they are blessed, and return on Easter Sunday loaded with chocolate eggs and other sweets. On their way back, they drop the treats over the cities and villages in France for the children to find.
In Australia, where rabbits are considered pests, the Bilby (a small marsupial resembling a rabbit) has usurped the Easter Bunny. Down under, the ‘Easter Bilby’ is the one who takes care of the handing out the gifts. This species is endangered in its native country, and so the Bilby was introduced in place of the Bunny to increase awareness of them.
It is said that the Easter Bunny entered America in the 1700s, along with German immigrants who settled there. The Germans brought with them the tradition of a hare that laid coloured eggs, called Osterhase, which their children would make nests for. This evolved into the Easter Bunny that we all know and love, whose gifts now include sweet treats and chocolate. Children may also leave carrots for the bunny, in the same way that they do for Santa’s reindeers at Christmas.
Easter is celebrated in a big way in Norway, and is more important to many Norwegians than Christmas. Norwegians decorate their home with Easter chickens ‘Påskekyllinger’, as well as eating chocolate Easter eggs ‘Påskeegg’, as chickens are a symbol of fertility. The Easter Bunny does deliver treats here, but is a relatively new addition to Easter in Norway, having only brought chocolatey gifts here in recent years. Our very own Norwegian, Trine, tells us that the Easter public holidays start on Thursday in Norway, meaning all shops and businesses are closed from this day, so children and grown-ups all get time off to indulge in some quality family time (and chocolate over-indulgence).