A red egg brings good luck! The Easter egg hunt is certainly one of the most popular traditions – what child doesn’t love heading out to find hidden eggs? But what other Easter customs are there?
As is well known, the church bells remain silent in Austria from Maundy Thursday to Holy Saturday, because, according to folklore, the bells have flown to Rome. Instead, children go through the villages with so-called “rattles” – clackering wooden instruments – and declaring sayings. In return, they get Easter eggs, sweets and coins. In 2015, rattling in Holy Week was recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage in Austria.
“Natale con i tuoi, pasqua con chi vuoi” – Christmas with the family, Easter with whomever you want. In line with this motto, people spend Easter with family and lots of friends. The “Colomba pasquale” provides the sweet ending to the multi-course Easter meal. It is a leavened cake that is baked in the form of a dove (as a symbol for Jesus) and decorated with almonds or raisins.
The pome forms a cross at the top, shaped by palm leaves. Originally, the pome was brought to church only by children, so that families who had no children, or whose children were already grown up, could give branches to other children in the neighbourhood. The background: the children who brought a pome to the church were very happy about it because they got two Easter eggs instead of just one.
There is a very bizarre Easter tradition in the Czech Republic. Men there are allowed to strike the young women on the legs – very lightly – with braided willow branches. According to the Czech Tourist Office, this custom has a long tradition and is said to bring health and youth.
Here, people bake the so-called “Hrudka“, a bread made from eggs and milk. This bread represents fertility and a new beginning.
Serbia & Montenegro
Easter in Serbia is no different from that in Montenegro since both countries are Christian Orthodox. Here, we come across the red eggs again. The Easter eggs here are only dyed on Saturday, and the first egg to be dyed has to be red. This egg – called čuvarkuća – is even preserved for a whole year, and is only then thrown away. This is said to bring good luck.