Easter is on its way, and for millions of kids this means that both chocolate eggs and the legendary Easter Bunny are on their way – however, not everyone around the world anticipates a bounding, big-eared egg bandit visiting them each spring! This important Christian holiday is celebrated in various countries with the help of some truly curious critters and creatures you may never have even heard of – and we think they’d make for some truly alternative Easter mascot designs! Here’s our pick of some of the most interesting Easter characters and traditions beloved in other cultures.
The Easter Bells (France)
While not a creature or a critter, bells are hugely symbolic in France at Easter time– it’s thought that all the church bells across the land spring from their towers and fly to Rome, where they not only rub shoulders with the Pope, but also make sure they load up on traditional Easter sweets and goodies to share back home. Keep an eye on any church bells you might spy the next time you’re France-bound – they’re all hiding secret pairs of wings!
The Easter Bilby (Australia)
Australia has a magnificently wild and wonderful culture, and their Easter celebrations fit in rather nicely with this trend. While the Easter Bunny may have found his way into the hearts of children across the West, the Easter Bilby is celebrated as a local cousin down under. The character was first brought into the public eye in 1991, as environmental campaigner Nicholas Newland wished to raise awareness of the damage that rabbits caused to Australian flora. The Easter Bilby was born, therefore, as a fitting symbol of local wildlife without the negative connotations!
The Easter Witch (Sweden)
If you thought witches hid away until Halloween each year, you’ve clearly never made your way to mainland Europe during the spring! Easter Witches are commonly found across Sweden and Finland – in the form of children dressing up and gifting handmade postcards/drawing to their neighbours. In return, the children receive a few pennies or Easter sweets for their efforts. Sounds fairly similar to trick-or-treating in the US – but beyond this, it’s not uncommon to see images of witches riding broomsticks and carrying a cauldron of goodies around Easter time in Scandinavia.
The Easter Cuckoo (Switzerland)
When you think of cuckoos, you generally think of those odd little clocks – and where do they come from? Switzerland! The Swiss really take cuckoos to heart around Easter, too – as their traditional egg-carrier is not a rabbit but a native bird. The Easter Cuckoo is brightly coloured and high-spirited, and particularly lucky children may even be able to snatch a few chocolate cuckoos of their own!
The Easter Fox (Germany)
Who would have thought that the bunny’s natural foe – the fox – would be the one delivering the treats and the goodies out in mainland Europe? Germany is another country rich in curious heritage, and it’s thought that both the Germans and the Dutch helped to spread the tradition of the Easter Bunny across the West. The Easter Fox is perhaps less common these days as the Bunny has largely taken centre stage, but it’s nice to see that he still has a role in some parts of Germany!
There you have it – no one seems to celebrate Easter in quite the same way wherever you look – though awaiting chocolates and treats is fairly universal! No matter who brings the kids their eggs and goodies this year, why not treat them to an Easter character with a bit of added history? Give the Easter Bunny the year off – you must surely agree he deserves it!