Out-of-the-Ordinary Easter Celebrations Around the World

by  Blane Bachelor | Mar 22, 2013
Family celebrating Easter
Family celebrating Easter / evgenyatamanenko/iStock

This Easter, why not opt for something a little more interesting than hunting for eggs or a ham dinner? Here, some out-of-the ordinary ways that the holiday is celebrated around the world, some of which have nothing to do with its religious origins. (And even if you won't be in one of these destinations, perhaps you can use them as inspiration to spice up your own traditions). Hop to it!

Bunnies and Big Wheels: Leave it to San Francisco to quirk and costume-up the holiest of Catholic holidays to the wackiest of proportions. At Bring Your Own Big Wheel, hundreds of dressed-up revelers tear down Vermont Street, the equally twisted, but lesser-known, cousin of Lombard Street on Big Wheels and plastic children’s bikes. Spectacular wipeouts and side-splitting laughter guaranteed (here’s a video I shot of the event last year; this year, I’m planning to ride). If this sounds too wholesome, head over to the Hunky Jesus Contest at Dolores Park, during which partially-clothed contestants compete for perhaps the city's most famously blasphemous honor of the year.

Chocoholics, Heads-Up: Where else for Easter extravagance than in Las Vegas, where this year a show-stopping display at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon restaurant, located inside the MGM Grand resort, will include more than 70 pounds of chocolate. The creation includes sculptures of hundreds of flowers, eggs, hens, bunnies, and birds, and it will be on display through April 1. (No word on whether visitors can dig in then.)

Hats Off to Easter in New York: Easter bonnets become haute couture at this beloved Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival, when fashionable New Yorkers descend upon Manhattan in their Easter finest, namely over-the-top headwear. Dogs also get in on the action as well, so make sure the camera is well-charged for this uniquely New York celebration. And plan to arrive extra-early if you want to actually watch the parade – these hats will need a ladder to see over, after all.

Australia’s Easter Bilby: If you happen to be traveling Down Under during Easter, take a closer look at the chocolate creatures sold in candy stores this time of year: They’re probably not bunnies, but bilbies, endangered marsupials that resemble rabbits with long ears and silky fur, whose numbers have been declining thanks in part to the introduction of rabbits to the country. So, rather than celebrate an animal typically viewed as a pest, a movement by the organization Foundation for Rabbit-Free Australia has helped bring bilbies into the national spotlight, with sales from their chocolate likenesses helping fund conservation movements across the country.

Whodunnit in Norway: Forget Easter bunnies and sugary peeps: Easter in Norway has a darker side, thanks to a popular tradition of Påskekrim, or Easter Crime. No one seems to know why such subject matter is so popular this time of year, but during the week preceding Easter, television channels run crime shows and a slew of detective novels and thrillers come out. Traditionally, Norwegians travel to mountain cabins and spend Easter weekend immersed in “Whodunnits.”

How are you spending Easter this year?

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