Which Country Has the Most Unusual Easter Tradition?

For Christians, the central focus of Easter is celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But around the world, all sorts of different traditions have sprung up around the holiday -- many of which have little to do with the resurrection. In the United States, people decorate hard-boiled eggs, and kids hunt for hidden chocolate treats suppled by the Easter Bunny. In Norway, there is a more gruesome Easter tradition. Since the 1923 publication of a wildly popular story entitled The Bergen Train Was Looted in the Night, Norwegians spend the long holiday period consuming Påskekrim ("Easter Crime"), a guilty pleasure that comes in the form of a book or TV crime thriller, filled with death, blood, and gore.

Easter, a time for crime:

  • In 1923, authors Nordahl Grieg and Nils Lie wrote about a fictional robbery that takes place during the Easter break. The thieves escape on skis, zooming down a mountain with the loot.

  • The book and its clever promotion, disguised as a real event in the newspaper, enthralled the Norwegians. They rushed out to buy the book, making it a bestseller, and spent the Easter holiday enjoying it.

  • On every Easter since, eager Norwegians are flooded with a new batch of “Nordic Noir.” Dark and brooding crime stories even appear on milk cartons.

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Americans watch gore 24/7.

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