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Easter, which will be observed on April 17, 2022, is the oldest and most significant of all Christian festivals. Many adults observe the holiday, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, by attending special church services and fasting for 40 days before the event. For American kids, the holiday is mainly about egg hunts, parades, and Easter bunnies. But not all countries follow these traditions. Here are a few unique celebrations you may be tempted to adopt.
In Australia, chocolate bunnies have been replaced by adorable chocolate bilbies. In addition to being delicious, the candy also has a charitable purpose. Chocolate manufacturers donate a percentage of the sales towards conservation efforts to save the endangered long-snouted marsupials, whose population has been decimated by feral cats and foxes.
Rose-Marie Dusting, a nine-year-old from Queensland, Australia, first raised awareness of the animals' plight in 1968 with a story entitled "Billy the Aussie Easter Bilby." The poignant tale gained nationwide attention after being published as a children's book eleven years later. In 1991, the Foundation for Rabbit-Free Australia began a campaign to replace bunnies with bilbies during the holiday. The rest, as they say, is history.
For the residents of Bermuda, Good Friday means a visit to the church, flying unique kites, and eating hot cross buns and codfish cakes. The kite-flying tradition is believed to have been started by a Sunday school teacher. Struggling to explain the ascension of Jesus Christ to his students, he launched a kite with a likeness of Christ, and a fun ritual was born. Made using colored tissue paper, metal, wood, and string, the kites come in all sizes and often feature exquisite patterns. The hot cross bun custom came from the British, while the codfish cakes became the food of choice to avoid meat during Lent.
In the days leading up to Good Friday, the streets of Antigua, Guatemala, are decorated with colorful carpets called alfombras. The temporary rugs, which range in designs from biblical scenes to popular soccer teams, are primarily made using brightly colored hand-dyed sawdust. They are often overlaid with fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
In Florence, Italy, Easter is an explosive occasion. On the morning of Easter Sunday, a 30-foot-tall (9-meter) antique cart, filled with fireworks, is escorted across the city to the Florence Cathedral by 150 soldiers, musicians, and people in 15th-century dress. The Archbishop of Florence sets off the colorful fireworks display during Easter mass by lighting a fuse connected to the cart. The fun tradition, known as Scoppio del Carro, or "explosion of the cart," is believed to ensure a good harvest in the upcoming year.
Resources: ABCnews.com, Scholastic.com, Wanderlust.com, NPR.com