Easter Around the World Germany, Hungary, Norway and Poland

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Today we explore Easter in parts of Northern Europe. We will explore Germany, Hungary, Norway and Poland. The other day we explored Sweden and we have also explored France, Spain and Portugal.

Easter Fire
Easter Fire in  Göttingen Source: By ElHeineken (Own work)
[GFDL or CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In Germany Good Friday is known as Quiet Friday. The church bells are not rung on Quiet Friday. People make wooden rattles to call people to church. On Saturday the children light huge bonfires. They burn wood and rubbish that they collect from house to house. On Easter, many villages hold an Easter walk or ride in memory of the walk Jesus took with His disciples after His resurrection. In one procession there is a rider dressed as Saint George on a white horse and in another men on horseback gallop past a post shaped like a cross and the winner is presented a cake shaped like a horse. On Easter Sunday, the children look for eggs in the garden. The eggs are made of chocolate, candy or decorated hens' eggs. Some believe the Easter hare hid the eggs for the children. The Easter hare brings the eggs in a small wheel barrow. 

Hase mit Ostereiern (1)
Easter Hare with Eggs Source: By Gerbil (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Sprinkling in Hungary Source: By Opusztaszer (Own work)
[CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
In Hungary, Easter is a two day holiday. Its observance is part Christian and part folk. The main difference is the ritual of sprinkling.On Easter Monday boys and young men visit their female relatives and neighbors and friends. In the past boys would playfully drag the girls to the well and pour water on them using pails or take the girls to the river and drench them. Now the boys sprinkle cologne rather than water so the girls do not have to change after every sprinkling. The girls no longer wear the traditional folk clothes but wear their casual clothes. There is a competition among the girls to see who gets sprinkled the most. In the evening the celebrations come to an end with a traditional Easter feast of baked ham and boiled eggs.

Norwegian Eggs Source: By: Pål Berge
In Norway outdoor sunrise services are common on Easter morning. Children will often gather big bouquets of flowers to decorate the houses. It is spring and daffodils and tulips are often in bloom. The children also have painted egg contests and egg rolling contests. In egg rolling they either blow the egg or push it with their nose. Similar to children in Russia, Norwegian children play egg tapping. They tap their eggs together and see whose can survive the longest uncracked. It is also a tradition in Norway to leave a special brew outside the house on Maundy Thursday. This is to keep the witches away, which people in remote areas used to believe in similar to the Swedish traditions. One unique tradition in Norway is at Easter time Norwegians read detective novels and watch detective shows on television. This tradition has become known as Easter Crime.

Drowning Marzanna in Poland includes Burning Them First
Photo taken by Meteor2017 Source

In Poland on the fourth Sunday of Lent people dress in traditional costume and gather on the riverbanks. They bring stuffed dolls that are called Marzannas. Some will be made of straw and others rag dolls. The dolls are dressed in traditional clothes. They form circles and sing songs about winter ending and warm weather coming. They throw the dolls into the river to symbolize the death of winter. In some parts they burn the dolls first as pictured above. In some parts of Poland people feel it is unlucky to speak or look back and rush home. They also have the belief that a trip or fall on the way home may mean they will die within the year. Nowadays it is a more lighthearted event and often is celebrated as part of school.
Palm Sunday in Poland
Palm Sunday in Poland Source: I, Mathiasrex [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
Holy Week begins and it is called Wielki Tydzien. For Palm Sunday, people carry pussy willows or decorated branches like the ones above to church. In some churches they are thrown on the floor for the priest to walk over. On Good Friday the churches display a model of the tomb where Christ was buried. People go from church to church to admire the artistry. On Saturday they bring a basket of food to the church to be blessed. The baskets hold pisanki or painted eggs, a lamb made of sugar or straw, bread, sausages and cakes.

Veľkonočný košík
A Blessing Basket Source: By J.Dncsn (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
On Easter Sunday the boys run through the streets setting off explosives. The noise resembles the noise of the stone rolling away from the tomb. Since Easter morning ends the Lenten fasting, people enjoy a breakfast of eggs, meats and cakes after church. On Easter Monday or Dyngus, the boys practicing sprinkling similar to Hungary. The girls however sometimes give the boys a dyngus or ransom for the promise not to be thrown in the water. The ransom is Easter eggs or candies. People who get wet in this way are suppose to have good luck and a good harvest and it also means the boy likes her.


For this post, I used information from the books above. For more Multicultural and Easter Posts check out: