Merry almost Easter! Is it me or does the date keep changing? Here we’re used to exchanging eggs and dancing naked whilst weeping (just me?) but other countries have their own ideas of spring tradition.
1. Girl Whipping (and Soaking) in Eastern Europe. Yes, show those Slovak ladies who’s boss! In the Czech Republic you give them a good hiding with a willow stick and then a dousing with freezing water! The water tradition occurs elsewhere in Eastern Europe too. Apparently the voracity of the dousing can vary from “having a teaspoon of warm tap water dribbled over you to a bucket of frigid well water thrown at you.” Likewise the strength of the stick beating can depend on how drunk people are, but it’s not really supposed to hurt. Read more about it here.
2. Semana Santa in Spain and Latin America. An odd spectacle indeed, chosen members of the Christian Order of Penitents wear robes known as capirotes. Read more (and see videos and pictures) here.
3. Crucifixion in the Philippines. Flagellation, genuine crucifixion… these people take the grim part of religion very seriously. Be warned, the video below features some very unpleasant business. Have a read about it here.
4. ‘Halloween’ Easter in Finland. In a kind of reverse trick or treat children dress up as witches and bring gifts door to door. Those gifts might be twigs and crepe paper but it’s the thought that counts, and they still manage to extort chocolate so all is right with the universe.
5. Pot smashing in Greece. Greeks just love breaking stuff! If you’re ever annoyed with a person it’s probably best to get down there and smash up a load of china – just be sure they’re not trying to eat off it at the time.
6. The Dance of Death in Spain. If you go to Verges, Costa Brava, you may find yourself surrounded by a procession of skeletons. Apparently to remind people that ‘death can occur at any time,’ everyone dances to drums and carries something ‘death related’ such as a scythe.