10 Good Friday Traditions from Around the World
In the Christian faith, Jesus died on Good Friday, only to rise again on Easter. Other countries celebrate that with church, hard-boiled eggs, ham, and baskets of individually wrapped candy. While in other places, they go a different route. Here are 10 holiday traditions from around the world—some fun, some darker than the chocolate in your basket on Sunday.
Thousands gather in London's Trafalgar Square to watch a massive live rendition of The Passion of Christ. In 2016, the production included 100 actors, live donkeys and horses, and full Roman soldier getups.
In Bermuda, people fly kites on Good Friday to represent Jesus on his way to heaven. Here, President George Bush and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher join kids to launch kites into the sky in 1990.
This is one of the more realistic reenactments of the Crucifixion of Christ, with flogging and fake blood plentiful. The man chosen to play Jesus goes through physical and psychological training for an entire year leading up to Good Friday.
Back in the 1800s, Napoleon stopped with his army in Bessieres and the omelettes that the townspeople fed them were so damn good he ordered them to make a giant omelette the next day. So they say, anyway. Now, every Easter, the Giant Omelette Brotherhood turn thousands of eggs into a 10-foot breakfast.
In the 1600s, a slave painted a mural of Jesus on the cross in an adobe hut. Legend has it that despite attempts to paint over it and a massive earthquake, the mural stood strong. Now, it's called the Shrine of Our Lord of the Miracles, and every year a procession occurs in October—when the earthquake hit in 1746—in its honor that's as impressive as any Good Friday celebration.
Instead of going for theater productions or fake blood, some Filipinos get literally nailed to crosses, real nails, and all. Devotees stay on the crosses for a few minutes to do penitence for their sins, and then are let down to let their wounds heal.
On Easter Thursday, the people of Verges perform "La Dansa de la Mort," or the Dance of Death, with skeleton costumes, scythes, clocks, and ashes. It represents the final judgment.
In Australia, bunnies are considered pests. So in 1991, Rabbit-Free Australia started a campaign to replace the Easter Bunny with the Easter Bilby, a native Australian marsupial. Now, some candy companies make chocolate Easter bilbies to celebrate.
Every year around Easter time, people in Norway curl up with new crime novels. This "Easter thriller" tradition started in 1923 when a publisher ran a front-page newspaper ad for a new whodunnit book so convincing people thought it was real news.
Splashing people with water on Easter Monday is said to bestow them with health and beauty in Poland. That straw getup is an Easter tradition as well.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.