6 Easter Traditions You Might Not Know

The sacred Christian holiday of Easter is celebrated in somewhat similar ways around the world, but there are some traditions from various regions that may be new to you.

1. Baranek Wielkanocny

The Baranek Wielkanocny, or Easter Butter Lamb is a hunk of butter shaped into a woolly lamb to celebrate Easter in Poland. You might find one in your Easter basket or use it as a centerpiece for the holiday feast. If the local priest is blessing baskets of Easter foods before they are laid out for the meal, the Butter Lamb is always included. They are sold in delis around the holiday or you can make your own at home.

2. The Burning of Judas

In several countries, it is customary to burn an effigy of Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus, sometimes as part of a Passion play. See burnings in Mexico, Greece, Venezuela, Crete, Portugal, and Spain. The effigy is often hanged by the neck before the burning on the Friday or Saturday before Easter. For an added touch, some celebrants stuff the effigy with fireworks or give it the face of an unpopular politician.

3. Pysanky Eggs

Eggs, symbols of new life, are used in several ways to mark the Easter holiday. People in many countries decorate eggs in beautiful colors. Pysanky eggs are an example of Ukrainian folk art. They are decorated in nature motifs using a batik method. The designs are drawn in negative with wax, and colors are built up using successive dye immersions. The wax design is changed as different colors of dye are used. The results can be quite elaborate. Here's a tutorial on making Pysanky eggs. Photograph by Luba Petrusha.

4. Crucifixion

In the Philippines, some Christians put themselves through the same punishments that Jesus endured, from self-flagellation to allowing themselves to be nailed to a cross. This "mortification of the flesh" is extremely painful, but volunteers are not left on crosses long enough to endanger their lives. Representatives of the Catholic church try to discourage these extreme re-enactments. Image by Flickr user nigel@hornchurch.

5. Maundy Money

Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter, traditionally the day Jesus celebrated the Passover meal known as the last supper and was later arrested. In the United Kingdom, the day is commemorated when the reigning monarch gives away Maundy Money. In times past, the king or queen washed the feet of the poor as well to show humility. In the modern era, the giving of alms is ceremonial, with Queen Elizabeth passing out coins in an amount equal to her age. Special coins are minted for this purpose, which become collector's items. This Thursday, she will distribute 84 pence to each recipient.

6. The Rocket War of Vrondados

In the village of Vrondados, on the Greek island of Chios, the annual war of the rockets is staged between two churches, Agios Marcos and Erithiani. Residents spend all year preparing thousands of rockets containing fireworks. On Saturday night before Orthodox Easter, the rockets are fired between the churches for hours. The custom goes back many years, and although there are plenty of stories, no one is quite sure how the tradition began.

This article originally appeared in 2010.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Courtesy of Airpod
New Nap Pods—Complete with Alarm Clocks and Netflix—Set for A Trial Run at Airports This Summer
Courtesy of Airpod
Courtesy of Airpod

Sleepy travelers in Europe can soon be on the lookout for Airpods, self-contained capsules designed to help passengers relax in privacy.

For 15 euros per hour (roughly $18), travelers can charge their phones, store their luggage, and, yes, nap on a chair that reclines into a bed. The Airpods are also equipped with television screens and free streaming on Netflix, Travel + Leisure reports.

To keep things clean between uses, each Airpod uses LED lights to disinfect the space and a scent machine to manage any unfortunate odors.

The company's two Slovenian founders, Mihael Meolic and Grega Mrgole, expect to conduct a trial run of the service by placing 10 pods in EU airports late this summer. By early 2019, they expect to have 100 Airpods installed in airports around the world, though the company hasn't yet announced which EU airports will receive the first Airpods.

The company eventually plans to introduce an element of cryptocurrency to its service. Once 1000 Airpods are installed (which the company expects to happen by late 2019), customers can opt in to a "Partnership Program." With this program, participants can become sponsors of one specific Airpod unit and earn up to 80 percent of the profits it generates each month. The company's cryptocurrency—called an APOD token—is already on sale through the Airpod website.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
8 City Maps Rendered in the Styles of Famous Artists
iStock
iStock

Vincent van Gogh once famously said, "I dream my painting and I paint my dream." If at some point in his career he had dreamed up a map of Amsterdam, where he lived and derived much of his inspiration from, it may have looked something like the one below.

In a blog post from March, Credit Card Compare selected eight cities around the world and illustrated what their maps might look like if they had been created by the famous artists who have roots there.

The Andy Warhol-inspired map of New York City, for instance, is awash with primary colors, and the icons representing notable landmarks are rendered in his famous Pop Art style. Although Warhol grew up in Pittsburgh, he spent much of his career working in the Big Apple at his studio, dubbed "The Factory."

Another iconic and irreverent artist, Banksy, is the inspiration behind London's map. Considering that the public doesn't know Banksy's true identity, he remains something of an enigma. His street art, however, is recognizable around the world and commands exorbitant prices at auction. In an ode to urban art, clouds of spray paint and icons that are a bit rough around the edges adorn this map of England's capital.

For more art-inspired city maps, scroll through the photos below.

[h/t Credit Card Compare]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios