You know the Halloween people on sight because they never stop. It’s Jack Skellington every damn day. You wonder how they don’t get bored, but they NEVER DO. The Christmas People are stealth, even though they’re planning that shit all year long and making lists and hunting down vintage tablecloths and then ka-blamming you with it in December like it all just came together. Then, just to fuck with the Halloween People, October rolls around and the Christmas People start working it and that makes the Halloween People lose their minds and it’s amazing.
You never see Easter People, which is weird because this country is so Christian. Perhaps it’s that the attached religious significance makes it seem a bit tacky to go buck wild in the celebration rites. Outside of Hunky Jesus contests in San Francisco, most people think of Easter as the one time you go to church each year before eating lamb chops. Then you’re done.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Christian-identified western world has already secularized everything and they’re having a way better time. Some of them make the party last for a week. We need to adopt basically everything the following countries are doing and really kick this Easter thing up a notch, but we probably (translation: definitely) won’t because we’re essentially too boring.
1. Judas Buns (Czech Republic):
They’re meant to represent coiled serpents, the kind that go around causing The Fall Of Man. In bread logic, that must mean that Judas was a descendent of that Original-Sin-causing snake, because he betrayed Jesus. So now he is punished and reincarnated as a delicious treat. It’s unclear whether eating a bun that represents Judas and sin-inducing reptiles is supposed to make you heroic for devouring evil, or wicked for taking carbohydrate-sin into your body, or just semiotically neutral. Either way, it’s bread and it should be in my mouth right now.
2. Whipping (Czech Republic):
Pomlaska means “braided whipping stick.” On Easter Monday, the men take these sticks and swat women, ever so gently, on their buttocks. The women, in turn, give the men chocolate, eggs, or, if this video is meant to be taken as representative, a fake cry of anguish before getting even more drunk. After the mock-whippings, the women dump ice water on the men they like. Then more drinking.
3. The Easter Witch (Denmark):
First, the kids dress up like witches. Not Ninja Turtles, just witches, because there are rules to this. Then they go door to door for candy. At each home, the kid-witches have to give each house a decorated willow branch to thank the residents for the candy, so it’s not just gimme-gimme-gimme. Ok, so this is basically Halloween. But you’ve always wanted more Halloween, right? And more candy. Don’t lie.
4. Miniature Rocket Wars (Greece):
On the island of Chios, two rival churches shoot fuck-tons of fireworks at each other. The origin of this practice can be traced to 19th century war, of course, but now it’s all in good fun. Everyone acknowledges the Prince of Peace in the most Black Metal way possible: trying to set churches on fire.
5. Arson (Greece):
It starts with teenage boys running around gathering scrap wood. Then they build bonfires. Originally, it probably has something to do with sacrifice and the purification of fire, but it’s 2015 so let’s be real: it’s just an excuse to set shit on fire. And they let teenage boys run the show because that demo is already the primary mechanism of destruction and disregard for peaceful social contracts, so it might as well be done right. As you can see in this video, there’s a fire truck nearby in case unauthorized buildings or people are set aflame during the event, and everyone seems to be having a pretty casual good time. Some of them appear to be holding souvenir flames as they walk down the street. Because fire.
6. The Flying Bells (France):
The church bells go silent in memoriam to the death of Jesus. Then the bells sprout wings and fly to Rome. Then they bring back chocolate bells. Look, it makes as much sense as a human-sized rabbit hiding jellybeans on the front lawn. Upside: more candy for everyone and your choice of delivery system. The explanatory video is in French but you’ll totally understand all you need to because it’s absurd. Bottom Line: let’s do this. The Easter Bunny could use a little friendly competition.
7. The Giant Omelette (France):
In the town of Haux, the people put all their eggs in an enormous frying pan in the town square and they make a big omelette to feed everyone. It is assumed that individual plates and forks are involved and that it’s not just a big trough of scrambled eggs that people dunk their faces into like some kind of county fair omelette-eatin’ contest. It would also appear that if you’re too poor to have eggs, you still get some of the omelette, which is nice and quite Christian, come to think of it.
8. The Whole Country Shuts Down and Does Nothing for a Week (Norway):
Ok, not nothing. They watch murder mysteries on TV. But we’ll get to that in a second. The most important part: the entire country takes a five-day-long break. Nothing is open. NOTHING. Schools, banks, stores – all closed. You just hang out, eat, drink, and sleep. And you participate in Paaskekrim, which means “crime fiction.” Fuck yeah. So, Norwegian publishers release murder mystery novels at this time of year, and the TV networks schedule mystery programs, and families watch or read them together. Even the milk cartons at the grocery store have mystery cartoons printed on the side. And that’s as good a way as any to pass the time. But mostly, seriously: FIVE FULL DAYS OFF. DAMMIT, WE NEED A BETTER EASTER.