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Babovka, Bilbies and Blåkulla - There's more to Easter than Eggs

Issue 03
Dear 360Traveller,

Welcome to our third edition of 360TG Views, News & Reviews.

Throughout 2007, our newsletters will aim to inform, intrigue and inspire you to see the world around you. Thanks to our
unique 360 degree panoramic images we take you to all the best places in the world and give you the very latest news & reviews from both you, our readers, and our photographers on location.

Easter is just around the corner, and for many that means chocolate eggs ... but, if you're going overseas for Easter, or are just curious, you might like to know about some of the other Easter traditions from countries around the world ...

... so this month, we give you our 5 Easter Traditions You Might Not Have Heard Of!

1)

   Italy

 


Amalfi, Italy


OK, so the Italians enjoy an Easter egg or two (in fact, they claim to have invented them) but did you know the original Easter food in Italy was the pretzel - its shape is supposed to resemble folded arms in prayer. Church bells fall silent on the day before Good Friday and children are told that the Easter eggs they find on Easter Sunday have come all the way from Rome. Why? Well, the bell ringing had gone to see the Pope in the Vatican and when the bells returned they brought the eggs with them.
 

2)

   Australia 

 


Melbourne, Australia


Ah, what could be lovelier than a cute little bunny rabbit? Well, quite a few things if you are an Australian. Wild rabbits have destroyed huge swathes of vegetation and burrows of native Australian species. So, the Australians have eschewed the imported rabbit as their preferred Easter icon and adopted the indigenous rabbit look-a-like, the Bilby instead. The Sydney Royal Easter Show, which takes place in the Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park is Australia's largest annual event, attracting over 1,000,000 visitors every year.

3)

   Sweden

 


Stockholm, Sweden


We all know about Volvo and Abba, but there's far more to Sweden than that - especially at Easter time. Superstitious Swedes believed that witches were especially powerful over Easter, flying off on Maundy Thursday on their broomsticks to consort with the devil at a place called Blåkulla. Another uniquely Swedish Easter tradition, on Maundy Thursday or Easter Eve, sees children dressing up as hags to secretly deliver Easter Letters to their neighbours, hoping for a sweet or coin in return.

4)

   Spain

 


Madrid, Spain


On Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, Spanish children traditionally carry palm leaves to church. The boys carry plain leaves but the girls get to carry palms decorated with sweets and tinsel. Not all is so sweet at Easter time in Spain though. On Maundy Thursday the town of Verges, near Gerona, is taken over by a macabre nocturnal street procession. Five dancers in luminous skeleton outfits entertain the crowds with the dance known as the Dansa de La Mort, or Dance of Death - not an Easter Bunny in sight!

5)

   Czech Republic

 


Prague, Czech Republic


Many Easter traditions in the Czech Republic date back to pagan times, some of which are still observed today. On Easter Monday, the tradition of pomlázka
involved boys gently whipping girls' legs with pussywillow twigs and dousing them in water to chase away bad spirits. The tradition is still observed but with much of the symbolism replaced by boisterous behaviour! More accessible traditions include the popular Prague Easter markets in Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square and eating delicious Bobovka, a sweet bread-like cake.

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