Some Easter General Knowledge
By Vera Fourie
Did You Know
In South Africa, Easter is one of the major festivals of Christians. The festival commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is observed throughout the world with much significance. Easter celebrations in South Africa witness an influence from various cultures in the world that include the observance of ancient rituals and age-old customs of offering prayers in churches. Easter eggs and bunnies also form a major part of the celebrations in the nation. The entire nation during the time of the festival observes a two-day public holiday. One special Easter event is the famous fun Easter Egg Hunt for young and old. People feast with their families and friends in their own traditional way, though we decided to make an amazing Italian Easter bread.
Rome, Italy: On Good Friday the Pope commemorates the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) at the Colosseum. Mass is celebrated on the evening of Holy Saturday, and on Easter Sunday, thousands of visitors congregate in St Peter’s Square to await the Pope’s blessing from the church’s balcony, known as ‘Urbi et Orbi’ (‘To the City and to the World’).
Norway: Easter is such a popular time for Norwegians to read crime novels that publishers actually come out with special ‘Easter Thrillers’ known as ‘Paaskekrimmen’. The tradition is said to have started in 1923 when a book publisher promoted its new crime novel on the front pages of newspapers. The ads resembled news so much that people didn’t know it was a publicity stunt.
Hungary: ‘Sprinkling’, a popular Hungarian Easter tradition, is observed on Easter Monday, which is also known as ‘Ducking Monday’. Boys playfully sprinkle perfume or perfumed water on girls. Young men used to pour buckets of water over young women’s heads, but now they spray perfume, cologne
or just plain water, and ask for a kiss. People used to believe that water had a cleaning, healing and fertility-inducing effect.
Czech Republic & Slovakia: The tradition is that on Easter Monday men spank women with handmade whips made of willow and decorated with ribbons. According to legend, the willow is the first tree to bloom in the spring, so the branches are supposed to transfer the tree’s vitality and fertility to the women. This playful spanking is all in good fun and isn’t meant to cause pain.
Finland: Children in this Scandinavian country go begging in the streets with sooty faces and scarves around their heads, carrying broomsticks, coffee pots and bunches of willow twigs.
Poland: Boys try to drench other people with buckets of water. It is a Polish Easter tradition called ‘Smingus-Dyngus’ Legend says girls who get soaked will marry within the year. Haux, France: Each year giant omelettes are served up in the town’s main square; the omelette uses more than 4 500 eggs and feeds up to 1 000 people. Apparently Napoleon and his army were travelling through the south of France where they stopped and ate omelettes. Napoleon liked his so much that he ordered the townspeople to gather their eggs and make a giant omelette for his army the next day. Corfu, Greece: People throw pots, pans and earthenware out of their windows, smashing them on the street. They believe the throwing of the pots welcomes spring, symbolizing the new crops that will be gathered in the new pots.