The best thing about traditional holidays? The weird, quirky & wacky variations of celebrations that everybody has for them!
As with most things, despite having no actual physical borders, each European country has managed to keep it's national culture completely different to their neighbours - which of course is what makes this continent so great to travel around!
Easter is no different and here are some of the bizarre European Easter traditions you can experience:
Don't Dance in Germany
Seriously. Whether you're cutting shapes in a trendy 24 hour club in Germany or dancing the waltz in a elegant music hall - you're not allowed. Due to the German tradition of Tanzverbot, dancing on holidays that are based on mourning or contemplation (Good Friday), is strictly banned.
Illegal in 13 out of 16 German states on Good Friday - but only in public parties. So if you're more of a dancing-at-home-when-nobody-is-looking type person, you're fine!
Whipping Women in Czech Republic
Now this we remember from our time living in Prague!
Men and boys traditionally whip women with a willow branch on Easter Monday to ensure their vitality and fertility as the willow tree is the first to blossom during spring time - which Easter heralds the start to. While more symbolic nowadays, it is sill a weird sight, and from memory, they were dressed as witches too...but that may have been a hen do....
Drenching Women in Hungary
Yep, again it's the women that get the flack of this one!
Traditionally, on Easter Monday, boys will knock at the doors of girls of marriagable age (that they probably fancy) and drench them in cold water from buckets. This is supposed to symbolise youth, strength and to get them healthy for Spring! Now, it is mostly just a sprinkling of eau de cologne and extends to all women of every age and even family members as a light-hearted, if maybe a bit awkward, nod to tradition.
So Where Did the Chocolate Egg Come From?
This used to be dyed and painted chicken eggs that were given as gifts, but more recently morphed into chocolate! The egg symbolises the re-birth and fertility of the holiday with the bright colours representing the spring season.
Chocolate Easter eggs started in the 19th century in France and Germany. At the start, the eggs were SOLID chocolate due to their not being the know-how of how to use moulds at the time with regards to chocolatiers. Then in 1875, a certain John Cadbury cracked the formula and the rest is yummy history... :)
What's your favourite Easter tradition? Have you ever seen any of these bizarre traditions yourself?
If all this has you wanting to start experiencing the weird and wonderful traditions of Europe - get in touch and join one of our immersive travel experiences!