It’s almost Easter 2021 and you might be decorating hard-boiled eggs with cute pastel colours, buying a bunny outfit for your kids, or planning a roast dinner to enjoy (perhaps virtually this year) with family or friends. We celebrate Easter in some admittedly bizarre ways in the UK, but how is Easter marked across the world?
What weird and wonderful Easter celebrations can we reveal? Not only that, but what will they teach us about cultural differences and the value of understanding them for companies expanding into new markets?
Where did our Easter traditions come from?
We all know that the chocolate eggs we eat at Easter, and the decorative eggs which are the trophy of many excited young Easter egg hunter, represent the resurrection and new life. Even so, not as many people are aware that the eggs are linked to Pagan spring rituals – eggs have long symbolised new life. With Easter being held at the beginning of Spring when nature renews itself, the symbolism is deep-rooted.
Antigua, Guatemala – Holy Week carpets
Antigua in southern Guatemala is known for its colourful Easter celebrations. The country’s celebrations are colourful as, during Holy Week, the population of this Central American country drape the streets with brightly shaded carpets which mark the route of the Good Friday Procession towards the city’s churches.
The carpets are made from an array of items: including coloured sawdust, fruits, flowers, sand and vegetables. These disparate materials usually make up images and scenes which are significant to the artist who made them, or the country’s cultural heritage, featuring religious iconography to Mayan traditions and the history of Guatemala.
Australia – not so cuddly bunnies
Who could ever have anything against fluffy-tailed rabbits? With their ever-twitching noses and adorable hopping, surely rabbits are universally loved. Well, not in Australia! In 1991, Australia created a public awareness campaign to replace the Easter Bunny with the Easter Bilby. Why? And, what exactly is a bilby, you may ask.
Rabbits aren’t indigenous to Australia and are considered pests because they destroy farmers’ crops. So, Australia aimed to replace the rabbit as the enduring Easter iconography with the bilby; also known as the rabbit-eared bandicoot.
This takes us to today, as chocolate companies in the land down under regularly produce chocolate bilbies at Easter, to raise money for conservation charities. This matters, as bilbies are endangered, unfortunately.
Greece – a smashing good time!
On the Greek Island of Corfu – the favourite holiday destination of many Europeans – during Easter, the native population are known to throw old pots out of their windows, where they smash on the streets outside.
Where the Islanders get these pots from every year, we couldn’t say, but this Easter Sunday morn tradition is likely borrowed from Venice, where the locals mark Easter by throwing their possessions onto the streets.
Localisation prevents marketing blunders and boosts brand image
Imagine your confectionary company is expanding to Australia, and you want to mark Easter with some special celebratory chocolates. Now, if the marketing director suggested rabbit-shaped chocolates in any other country, everyone would congratulate them on a job well done.
However, in Australia, as we have learned, this fluffy mammal has a slightly different reputation from what we’re used to. You don’t want to be putting off consumers, making a well-known local pest look cute and cuddly.
That’s why, when you expand to a new country or region, you need to recognise the value of market experts, including translators who can help localise your marketing messages.
Our translation services are always delivered by native speakers, but also market experts who are deeply familiar with the cultural touchpoints of your target market, and will ensure your brand avoids potentially costly marketing blunders.