As this year both Orthodox and Catholic Christians are celebrating Easter during the same weekend, the world is in full preparation, parents picking the perfect hiding spots for eggs, while children eagerly await the opportunity to embellish boiled eggs with wondrous designs. Even though everybody is celebrating the resurrection of Christ, smaller traditions differ from country to country, especially when it comes to the food served during Pascal celebrations.
Seeing as cosmopolitism is fashionable again, we have compiled a list of peculiar traditions and meals gathered from all around the world. Who knows maybe this year you will replace the traditional baked ham with something more exotic like pickled fish or lamb soup.
French People Fry Up the Largest Omelet in the World
Every year, the inhabitants of Haux gather on the morning of Easter Monday, crack open a few thousand eggs, slice up about 100 pounds of bacon, and cook a gargantuan omelet, big enough to feed around 1,000 hungry French. The people of Haux take their custom very serious, past omelets reaching 10 feet in diameter and containing over 5,200 eggs.
Nobody knows for sure when the tradition started, but locals say the first giant omelet was cooked at the express order of Napoleon who wanted to feed his troops an eggy delight.
Greek Food Reflects the Country’s Orthodox Faith
Back in 1054, Christians divided into two separate branches, the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic. The Great Schism was not only caused by divergences regarding faith, but also customs. Apart from the Catholic’s adamant request that priests should practice celibacy while an Orthodox priest cannot be anointed until he gets married, some smaller, but highly significant, traditions separate the adepts of the two religions.
For example, individuals who keep Orthodox traditions have an entire week to prepare for the holiday. Every day bears a different significance, the women dying red eggs on Thursday and cooking tsoureki– a braided bread made with eggs, mahlab, mastic, and sometimes cardamom.
On Easter morning, all members of the family play egg tapping, locally known as tsougrisma – a game in which family members each choose a reddened hard-boiled egg and gently knock them together chanting Christ is resurrected. Other dishes like kolompines– a dove-shaped cake and tsilihourda– a soup made from minced lamb are also a must-have in every traditional Easter meal.
Although the Panettone Is World Famous, Italians Eat Colomba di Pasqua for Easter
Italy’s panettone has traveled the world, the candied fruit delish having a special place in the heart of all food-lovers. However, despite popular belief, the panettone is not Italy’s go-to desert during Pascal celebrations. Instead, much like their neighbors, Italians cook a dove-shaped sweet bread adorned with candied fruit, almond flakes, and various spices.
The desert may be shared with the Greeks, but the main dish in most households is at Italian as it gets. Pizza chena combines all the tastiest ingredients of the peninsula, a savory mix between a crusty, buttery pizza dough and lasagna filling – minced meat, eggs, and plenty of cheese.
Germans Hang Eggs from Apple Trees
Every year, people gather in the small town of Salfeld to decorate an old apple tree with thousands of painted Easter eggs. What started with a bit over a dozen plastic eggs hanging from the tree’s branches turned into a local tradition that attracts thousands of tourists each year.
After properly embellishing the town’s apple tree, Germans feast on roasted lamb accompanied by potatoes or steamed asparagus.
South Africans Eat Pickled Fish and Hot Buns
On Good Friday, South Africans eat Cape Malay pickled fish (Kaapse kerrievis) – a dish made with white fish, onions, cider, and masala. Usually, the meal is paired with hot cross buns, a peculiar, but surprisingly tasty combination.
Of course, everybody partakes in a lengthy Easter egg hunt, the details of the tradition varying from country to country.