Though visitors tend to eye the hrudka (an Easter cheese) hanging from the kitchen cabinet with hesitant curiosity, it seems completely normal to me. My family is part Slovak, and our Easter traditions bring out that side of my heritage like no other holiday.
This time of year I aways feel close to that part of my family history, as though I belong to something outside of myself. Traditions connect us both to the past and to the future as we anticipate handing down these customs. Katharine Rose put it best in this article from the Huffington Post, “By pausing to consider traditional methods of behavior or thinking, and engaging in traditional activities, we are forced to look beyond the “self” and our own “world” to the world of others, to that which we came from, reminding us of our vulnerability, immorality – and, ultimately, our connection to something larger than ourselves.”
This longing to be part of something outside of ourselves is embedded in human nature. At Easter, we see people from all over the world celebrating the death and Resurrection of Jesus in a vast variety of ways that have been handed down for generations.
In Spain, people participate in the Dance of Death, a performance in which dancers dress as skeletons to remind the audience of their death, so that they may live a good life. At the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the faithful gather at the Stone of Anointing, commonly believed to be the location where Jesus’s body was anointed before burial. South Koreans gather together to pray at an annual rally at Yeonsei University in Seoul. And most of us know of the Easter Egg Roll that takes place on the White House lawn.
This article from the Atlantic captures these customs and more in a collection of 42 first-hand photos of Easter traditions around the world – but they forgot the hrudka!
Lindsay Rudegeair is Managing Editor of the Magis Center blog