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5 weird and wonderful Easter celebrations from around the world

08 April 2020 12:13

Must-see sawdust celebrations in Guatemala

Must-see sawdust celebrations in Guatemala

The holy holiday offers an array of getaway inspiration with added quirky customs. So forget egg hunts and bunnies, Easter's done a little differently in these corners of the world.

1. Fireworks and flames in Greece

Easter Sunday goes off with a bang in Greece, a nation where over 80% of the population belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church. Churches on the island of Spetses let off fireworks at the stroke of midnight on Easter Sunday. Later in the day, the village of Kounoupitsa gets a little fiery as locals conduct the "Burning of Judas" in the main square – giving their religion's most famous traitor the Guy Fawkes treatment.

2. Bread arches of Sicily

While the home of the catholic church can be found in the Vatican, it's nearby Sicily that leads the way in outlandish Easter celebrations. The bread arches of Easter, or 'Archi di Pasqua', is a tradition in San Biagio Platani where locals decorate the town's main street with archways, bell towers and domes, built from breads, dates, asparagus and other edible elements.

3. Sawdust streets in Guatemala

The Central American nation comes to a near standstill for a week in honour of Easter. Sombre processions commemorate Jesus's final days and feature large floats carried across painstakingly dyed and decorated sawdust-covered streets. Locals wear purple robes as the colour is often associated with penance, humility and is also known as the "Colour of Lent". The solemn celebrations make way for a day of fireworks on Easter Sunday to mark the resurrection.

4. Crime binges in Norway

A weekend filled with stories of violence and murder mysteries may sound like an unusual way to celebrate Easter, but then again what better way to celebrate a holiday built around a tale of betrayal and execution? In Norway, the dark, wintery weather coupled with a national penchant for twisted tales – think Nordic Noir – makes påskekrims or Easter crime a choice alternative at this time of year. Expect books filled with bloodshed to outnumber cutesy Easter bunnies in Norwegian shop windows.

5. Water warfare in Poland

Easter Monday or Smigus-dyngus in Poland is the perfect way to drown your sorrows, so to speak. The nation celebrates the opening of heaven's gates by hurling buckets and water balloons and firing water pistols at willing and unwilling targets. Otherwise known as Wet Monday, this cherished event in the Polish calendar owes its origins to ceremonies celebrating the arrival of spring and the new life the season and water represents. Similar behaviour can be seen across other parts of Central and Eastern Europe.

Planning an Easter escape? Don't forget your travel insurance.

At World First we offer last minute travel insurance, so you can stay protected no matter what Easter throws your way.