French children don’t get treats from the Easter bunny; they get them from the Easter bells. According to Catholic teaching, no church bells can ring between Holy Thursday and the Easter Vigil, on account of the solemnity of the days around Jesus’s death. Eventually, a legend evolved that said the church bells weren’t rung because they grew wings and flew to Rome to be blessed by the Pope. Then they returned Easter day with chocolate and presents for local kids. (Non-chocolate) egg lovers will also appreciate another French tradition… since 1973, members of the Brotherhood of the Giant Omelette have gathered in Bessières, France, to cook an omelette made up of over a whopping 15,000 eggs. How did this begin? The legend goes that when French military leader Napoléon Bonaparte and his army stopped to rest for a night near the town, he ate an omelette so delicious that he ordered the townspeople to gather all the eggs they had to prepare a giant omelette for his army the next day.
Even though Christians only make up 2.5 percent of India’s population, they still have elaborate Easter festivities, especially in the northeastern states. The western India state Goa celebrates with carnivals, complete with street plays, songs and dances. People exchange chocolates, flowers and colourful lanterns as gifts.
On Pasqua (“Easter” in Italian), residents of Florence celebrate a 350-year-old tradition called scoppio del carro, which means “explosion of the cart.” A centuries-old cart is loaded with fireworks and pulled in front of the Duomo, where spectators watch the pyrotechnics go off. It’s meant to be a sign of peace and a good year ahead. South of Florence is the town Panicale, where the big celebration happens the day after Easter (called Pasquetta, or little Easter). Locals gather for the annual Ruzzolone, a competition that involves rolling huge wheels of Ruzzola cheese around the perimeter of the village.