14 APR 2020

Easter traditions

FabergĂ© eggs and why is 13 unlucky?

We begin with Anton’s look at pre-Christian festivals that may have inspired Easter as well as odd modern day traditions, then Curious Mummy shares her experience of Easter in Russia and her love of FabergĂ© eggs. Being our unlucky 13th episode I delve into where this superstition may have come from and we remember that, 50 years ago to the day, Apollo 13 was struck by some bad luck but saved by some amazing minds.

Full show notes coming soon.


This transcript is automatically generated so may contain errors.

Welcome to the curiosity of a child.

Episode 13, yeah? So how are you and Tom?

I'm fine good.

What have you been up to since last time we recorded?

I have been playing some really good board games I.

Have I? We've been playing some really good board games you.

Mean such as gloomhaven. Yeah fantastic. We're excited for Frost even as well, yes.

Seven continents which we got into brilliant adventure, bit too much hunting later.

Can a house rule that little bit? But yeah, I I've been loving that.

The most recent game that we've been playing is stuffed fables. It's really, really nice, but it does get quite dark sometimes as well.

I've also been doing some modelling and some painting of my 172nd scale.

Modelling as imposing.

No, no no. Making some plastic tanks, mostly. In fact, since we last recorded, which is a very long time ago, sorry.

I have painted in an entire army as well. We might take picture of that and put it in the.

Show notes, yeah, we could do that. Yeah yeah, complete with grass on their helmets.

Yeah, and Lastly, I haven't been doing some of my school work.

Yeah, it's been funny. Hasn't home schooling for a couple of weeks. It's Easter Holidays now so I was working from home and trying to keep you educated at the same time. So what was when the topics that you were given?

We had to find out.

About some Easter traditions.

So did you go for the usual Christian traditions or?

I went from where they cut came from and some other slightly strange traditions as well.

OK, sounds good, so you kind.

Of pre Christian traditions and things from around the world.


Also, unfortunately no one's listening from school and I really want them to. So please everyone at school. Please listen to the podcast.

Well, if they listen to this, they know that they have to listen.

Yeah, and tell other people that you know to listen to the curiosity of a child.

Yeah, definitely been great weather so we've been out and about quite a bit. Haven't we in the garden he planted some lettuce and carrots and things so we will survive the isolation amaze and went for some good walks. Obviously away from other people.

Science is being really.

Really good weather as he doesn't.

Know we also have a special guest this time.

Mummy is joining us, isn't saying she's going to talk about some of the traditions that she knows from East happy coming from Russia. Yeah, then for my future I am going to be looking at the number 13.

The unlucky number.

That's right, as it's our 13th episode.

So shall we get on with the show.

On the show.

For my feature, we've got a very special guest. Hello, I'm a very special guest in our mountains. Mummy, yeah, we've got curious.

Mummy in the studio. Today we have very exciting.

For my feature, I've got a few different things. I'm going to speak about the Pagan roots of Easter and some strange traditions, the.

Sibley coat flourished on Vatican Hill civiles.

Lover, Asis was born on a Virgin, died and was reborn annually.

This spring festival began as a day of blood on Black Friday, rising to a crescendo after three days in rejoicing the resurrection. There were lots of fights over God being real or not and Vatican Hill Pagans versus Jesus worshippers.

So eventually Christianity came to an accommodation with the Pagan Spring festival. Okay, so it seems there then that the idea of the resurrection of Jesus at Easter time that was taken from the Pagan festival was that where they had a similar belief before that? Yeah, because they they pretty much stole it and changed it how they wanted it, yeah?

I think if you're trying to mix cultures then you can you share things.

From each culture, don't you? Yeah, the date of Easter is not fixed.

But instead is governed by the phases of the Moon.

How Pagan is that? All the fun things about Easter are Pagan bunnies are left over from the Pagan festival of Jostra, a Great Northern goddess whose symbol was a rabbit or Hare. Exchange of Eggs is an ancient custom celebrated by many cultures. Hot cross buns are very ancient too. In the Old Testament we see Israelites baking sweet buns for an Idol.

And religious leaders trying to put a stop to it.

Eventually they gave up and bless them instead. Yes, I think Tasha you've got something about some sweet buns. Yes, it's traditional Easter bread we bake, and Russia uses some other storeys. The Sumerian goddess Inanna or Easter was hung on a stake and was subsequently resurrected and ascended from the.

Underworld, one of the oldest resurrection myths, is the.

Egyptian Horus one.

On 25th of December, which is Christmas when Christ was born, Horace and his damaged I became symbols of life and rebirth.

Miss Ross was born on Christmas Day and his followers celebrated the spring equinox even as late as 400C, the Sol Invictus associated with Mithras. He was the last great Pagan coat to the church, had to overcome. Dionisis was a divine child, resurrected by his grandmother, Diana Sis also brought his mother Simile back to life. Yes, that's really interesting, so you can see some really.

Familiar storeys there, yeah.

Next up Easter traditions from around the world. Starting off with a Greek tradition.

The Greek Orthodox Easter is called Pascha.

It's the most important feast for the Greeks, celebrating the suffering and martyrdom of Jesus Christ as well as his resurrection and the chance of rebirth for mankind. Symbolised by the coming of spring.

Throughout the country, many traditions, such as special evening services, take.

Place during Holy Week that starts with Palmer Sunday.

And ends with Easter Sunday. Four of those seven days form the main celebration. The first day is called Great Thursday. Mcgauley pempti.

This is the day of prep and eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ is at the same in Russia. You die. The excellently smashed the tips. Yes, it is similar because Greek and rations we follow the Orthodox. I would say branch of religion is it. Yeah with the Docs Christian Christian. So our celebrations are very similar and happens probably in the same.

Time saver if you died. The eggs red then and did you use the onions? Yeah, we want to use onion skins for sure. Some people obviously this simple way would be to use onion skins and we would start collecting the well. I would start collecting the onion skins like a month before Easter. Yeah, some people get really inventive and make the eggs look.

Even more beautiful, decorating them with Flowers so you take a raw egg mean the raw egg with a shell in the show, not boiled.

And you put Flowers on top, and then you wrap it either in all tights or wrap it with their little cotton string or whatever to make the Flowers stay. And then you boil it as you would normally do in audience skins. But you have to have a lot of and.

You will see the beautiful.

Pattern obviously that that area where the flower was stuck. Yeah, it's really tiring.

Yes, it has to be really tight. It will remain.

Coloured by everything else would be died, so that's why you will see.

That eastern Europeans and Russians we make our eggs look very pretty, but I mean everybody, everybody.

Seems to be.

Making it more beautiful, but apart from onion skins you.

Can use people use like red cabbage all.

The other types of natural dyeing natural colouring allot of people started to use.

Foot colouring for that choosing.

But it makes all pretty, but people use for example in my family.

Interns, cousins. They quite often with dye the eggs very, very red. Do you remember when we when we were there for Easter in Russia? I remember we were smashing the eggs together or we won't smashing this or tapping and seeing little break and I remember I think U-1.

Ohh yeah have go I love you years.

Of experience question XI lost in my first round. Unfortunately I have got a bit technical. Must admit just match, but do you remember what the eggs looked like? They were bright or they went bright red there just sort of very they look like they were painted with lots and lots of paint. They were very red and then they had the gold sort of slightly sparkly things. Yeah there were stickers so that's what I was trying to say. Is that people?

Colour VX dydx right bread Rye bread bread and they use.

Various stickers to decorate them, so that's another way of.

Decorating eggs I mean.

It's very, very open to imagination.

Yeah, now that's where was my day to day two is great Friday Megali Paraskevi. This is the funeral procession of Christ, represented by a coffin as the coffin is carried through the streets of Greece. Church bells ring mournfully.

Great Saturday is the end of Lent and the Resurrection are celebrated on midnight.

All people go. If it's celebrated on midnight, would that be midnight of like day two or great Saturday? Imagine that'll be Saturday night into Sunday. Other thought yeah, yes.

All people go to church before midnight, keeping their special candles called Lamb or Lamb bids for the.

Eternal flame afew moments before midnights the lights.

Are switched off everywhere.

The highlight of the Easter.

Celebrations is during anastasie.

As when the Clock strikes 12, the priest announces Christoph Honesty. Christ is risen and people stop greeting each other. While many fireworks crackers last set off. Also, shotguns start firing to announce the happy moment they gotta land somewhere.

You know there's that big traditional smashing plates at a restaurant, so maybe they just like lots of smashing things. They used shotguns too, as well as the firecracker think. I think Russia have a slightly safer way. You're smashing eggs.

Yeah, it is a peaceful way. The Great Saturday dinner takes place after midnight and comes out the Great Sunday dinner, then breakfast.

Takes place after midnight and consists of the traditional Magar. It's made by the offer of the Lamb and the cracking grishma of the Red X.

The final day is Easter Sunday.

Karaoke to paschke. I think we had cash grab.

Easter is graces favourite day of the.

Year due to the Great Mediterranean weather, families, relatives and friends gather gather before noon, mainly in the countryside to prepare the festive Easter Sunday meal.

A hold the second one, a whole lamb is roasted on a cooking fire for many hours. It's easy with sides such as two sulky roasted potatoes.

Greek salad and plenty of wine was a land rocky.

Then they all sits around a long table.

For a long lunch, drinking, singing and dancing until late at night.

That's I guess the table is you can pack the table away.

This is going to be a massive table, but he got there from there. While I find interesting there is.

Of the being British we see pre Christmas as our main celebration and we didn't at least be some not personally religious. I don't really celebrate Easter that much other than getting.

Chocolate, eggs and you forget that in other countries actually.

Like today or next Sunday, just like the.

Orthodox Easter is going to be their most.

Important day, isn't it?

It's going to be a big family celebration.

Now I've got a few.

Other stranger traditions.

Starting off with the Russian Polish and American Easter bottle and tradition likely comes from Central and Eastern Europe, and when Catholic immigrants from the area began making their way to America, they brought the tradition with them. Indeed, many families who claimed this ancestry still, who the butter lamb by its Polish name Baranyk will. Can Oconee. Yeah, good effort.

But then a block of butter sculpted into a lamb didn't know ever really. Well, we did well, I might have missed something, but I haven't seen it in my life.

The next tradition is from Finland and Russia.

Mixing religious references and spring Customs, eastern Finland consists of young children dressing up as witches to celebrate the festive season, putting on brightly coloured clothing and adding freckles to their faces with make up their children take to the streets, knocking on doors and handing out coloured feathers and paper. These gifts are meant to keep away evil spirits and in return the recipients give out treats.

Not an icon. Traditional Halloween yeah so I think it's just that Halloween.

Yeah, the next one is from Papua New Guinea. This is quite a funny one this week.

With an annual coastal temperature of 28 degrees Celsius and high humidity, there aren't many people in the country of Papua New Guinea that are interested in eating chocolate during the Easter. Instead, the locals have come up with an arguably better idea. Trees outside houses of worship are decorated with packets of tobacco and cigarettes, which are given to the congregation after Easter services. The practise, apparently.

Has a very positive effect on the attendance of the Church and what did you say when we spoke about this earlier? I'm trying, but I was thinking just now. I think it saying what the adults and their children. Yeah, that's what you said.

Okay, the final one is from Norway. Norway is 1 country that takes their murder mystery seriously.

So seriously, in fact, that for the entire week of Easter and everything.

Shuts down so that they.

Can devote all their time to watching or reading crime shows and books. The week is then spent working out whodunit.

It's become such.

A tradition that even television stations in the country switch up their schedule to only broadcast murder mystery shows.

And in our previous episode we were speaking about coronavirus and I.

Was just thinking.

About it because when when you've got like Easter time off?

Obviously more people getting time off now because you have to stay at home, but in Norway they will be doing two things, one watching or reading crime shows or.

Books and two listening to the Brilliant podcast hero Steve Richards. Ohh yeah.

Under any Norwegian listeners, if we do, please get in touch on Twitter.

At Curie child pod.

So do you have anything else to add? Any other traditions feeling very special? I have heard you pronounce the word Easter in Greek as well as Russian, but actually you say pass.

What did you say? I said, Paschke Pascha. But it's actually a pass. Her also pass. How is the name for a dish which is specifically made for Easter? It did sound a little bit like a dish. I was wondering when I did my research.

I was wondering.

Sounded like pasta, so I thought he said.


And it is made of.

It's Kurt cheese, so in Russian it would be vadik. Don't ask me for exact recipe because I don't know, but I have have seen them have eaten them and it usually is exposed by as a.


With this sweetbread you have got sweetbread which is called College in Russia, but you have got a similar version which is hot cross buns so.

It's very similar to.

Panettone in Italy. Nice yes or brioche.

In France, it's very traditional.

Bread which is baked particularly form it's Easter yeast bread, baked particularly for past Hull, so Easter it has got a particular shape as well. It's baked in cylindrical teams.

Quite all there isn't anything to represent.

Like a round round, yeah.


It's to represent the shape of the church Okay, and at the top is laced with sugar glaze and quite often in time.

And quite often on the top you will see 2 letters letter huh?

Which is which. Looks like ex and letter.

Which looks like a capital, the capital V that's right, well done. You know, you know your Russian alphabet Cyrillic, yeah, and they stand for Christ has reason, which in Russian would be Christos was curious and this is a very traditional greeting in Russia. So when you see people, especially by the Church, because we.

We take cool each pass her.

Together with the eggs.

To the church. To be blessed.

And don't they reply? Indeed, he has yes, well done. Yes, exactly that so.

To be honest, in my mind I know it might be a little bit from traditional to my family. To my mind, it's almost like a little competition to say Christos Viscaria switches. the Christ is rich reason and meant to reply.

Based in this case, indeed he has so.

It's very common. Greeting is like.

To say hello. But during the Easter time, which I personally really looks like a.

Special Easter language. It is likely especially language.

Yes, obviously you guys know that Orthodox Easter is a few.

Days or a week later.

And that's to do with calendars because.

Yeah, I mean Gregorian calendar. Yeah, all the Julian Julian calendar so Orthodox Easter will be next week for, well, for me, for for us.

And your ex.

Talking about Nick, unfortunately, not many people getting angsty can't really go to the shops too often.

Yeah, but I don't know whether you know about Russian Royal family. The last Russian Royal family who were unfortunately all assassinated during the revolution. The laughter, the yeah, actually reading 1970 and 1970 Nan.

It was very tragic, but what I was trying to say is that Russian Royal family they started to Commission Easter eggs from.

House of Faberge Gustav Faberge he was a merchant an in 1842. He has opened his small jewellery shop in Saint Petersburg and he obviously has been making beautiful jewellery in ET cetera and then his son Carl Faberge has taken over the business and the link between the Russian Royal family and the power of habit.

Is that the czar in? I think it was 18. Bear with me a second. Yes 1885 the first Faberge egg was commissioned for Zarina Maria further avna by her husband Alexander the 3rd and it was an egg and then inside that egg was a Golden egg.

And inside the Golden Egg was a hen and the ETS called hen egg. And that was Zane S childhood memory of Easter. And she has obviously.

Described it to her husband and he has asked.

House of Faberge to produce a beautiful slash egg or obviously Golden American made out and see ever since every year.

Royal Family would Commission in egg and then the whole.

The freedom was given to a far bigger house.

At 2:00

you know to make eggs beautiful.

But the only condition Royal family has imposed on the Easter eggs is that that would all have some kind of secret, or like a surprise. So yeah, when you open them so so Jack in the box, you better than your smarties in the other one.


So some ex has had, like a little pendant or watch or I don't know. Little frame with a photograph or something like that.

During the First World War, no eggs were commissioned for a couple of years, but afterwards there were a few more ex and till the Royal family obviously has been assassinated and unfortunately House of Fraser didn't have more Royal commissions. They have had other commissions but I don't remember exactly but I think there are about 90 or so eggs were produced not only for the Royal family other.

Other people, but that's a very, very interesting egg to receive. I think about House of, but obviously has a Faberge. This is like I'm honestly not unconditional, powerful publisher. Just I just really love, yeah, but there amazing beauty, beauty and the detail of the eggs. And that's very, very close to my home some.

Pittsburgh's as well so I can talk forever about it.

But I know now that the House of Faberge.

They do still produce beautiful jewellery as well as Easter eggs.

Majority of them in a smaller.

Form which is like a little pendant and I have heard that in some families the girls receive a small, like a little pendant or other called charms like.

A little charm in the shape of Eric every Easter, so by the time they about 20, they have accumulated a few charms on their chain which would look like necklace more than just dependent so.

I've heard of the Daisy chain, but I've never heard of exchange. Yes, acting.

Would be amazing, so that's a beautiful tradition to have. So if any of you out there have got daughters then consider that as a as a tradition. Yeah, I think it's quite nice and beefy.

I'm back from the earlier traditions then are they still strong in Russia or?

Would you say that younger people aren't following them so much, or has there been any change? I think that the tradition of celebrating Easter as well as Christmas and Church.

Celebrations returning obviously after 70 years of Cold War, all of those in communist times you didn't really listen.

Was outlawed, wasn't it really?

Yes, and also all of this said traditions there were suppressed, so they are coming back. A lot of people are definitely starting to celebrate Christmas as well as Easter as they would celebrate New Year's Day or night of the GNU year, which is which is beautiful to.

See, people make a lot of effort that decorate.

Houses decorated eggs and make efforts and making food and.

The table, yeah, it's returning to the family.

You know, get gathering together.

That's that's a beautiful tradition to have. Yeah, I think it's that.

These things still survive. She sometimes hear about kind of westernisation americanisation of certain cultures, but it's good to know that people still keep their strong traditions. I think isn't it? Yes?

Okay, I think.

That probably do us, yeah, so.

Really interesting to see. Yeah, and you like the Faberge eggs and things in the traditions. Sure your future will be interesting too.

So we're not going to crack the eggs.

The eggs are definitely not for cracking may right through this involved.

Actually imagine going missing during.

After revolution somehow haven't made, but there's still lots of them are.

Luckily intact, intact or safe somewhere.

Allot of the mind private collections.

And in Russia.

In Saint Petersburg, there is a museum which at the moment actually they're showing virtual tours of their expositions and link to that, then yeah.

Yeah it's beautiful, beautiful.

So thank you very much. That's very interesting. That's been good as Nan time. Yeah, actually having some proper first hand accounts there so it carried on from the traditions that you had been looking at. And then Mummy had lots more. Didn't see pleasure. I enjoyed sharing the knowledge and their culture. Yeah, we finally be able to get you on. Yes, yes, I hope to be part of it.

More often, yeah, we have to definitely.

Get you on again, so thank you very much.

The number 13.

Now I've got a little confession to make. This isn't really our 13th episode, it's actually our 14th one as we had our two part Halloween special.

Now this is actually planned because.

I wanted to trick fate to ensure that this.

Episode runs smoothly.

So thanks for listening. Yeah, that was really interesting.



No, not really, nothings going.

Wrong, but don't worry, we're still with you now.

So why is 13 seen as unlucky? What did the seemingly innocent number do to deserve its reputation?

So Anton, do you think it's unlucky?

Yeah, because everyone else thinks thinks it's unlucky, so I've just sort of been thinking that it's unlucky as well. Yeah, seems to be in sort of Western culture, it's.

Got this unfortunate reputation, doesn't it? And did you know there's an actual phobia of the number 13? Wow, yeah, and it's called. I'm going to try and pronounce this.

Just kata kata phobia, but don't think.

It could be a natural fear, could it must be just created through cultural ideas and beliefs? I don't think so he's.

Born fearing the number 13 to you know, do you have any ideas where this kind of belief came from?

Maybe it's because it's the age.

When you become a teenager, could be I say yeah and thought of that one when I see my research. The number.

13 is seen as unlucky by coaches around the world, so there probably several.

Origins to its belief.

One possible and maybe fairly common origin comes from coaches using a lunar solar calendar, so that's where they use the sun and women for their calendar.

And there's about.

12.4 cycles of the Moon every year. So that means that the 13th one gets cut short.

And throughout history, many peoples around the globe have had sophisticated and accurate like calendars and measurements of time and the position of the stars and the sun and the moon up in the Sky.

I wish you could understand why that may be that 13th mean cycle that never quite finished could be seen as bad luck. Yeah, because the movements like really important to some of these old cultures. And there's also maybe some theories that there are old like Luna worshipping cults and when they start to be replaced by other religions or beliefs, perhaps some of that distrust of them continued into modern times.

But it doesn't really necessary explain why we think it's bad luck that it doesn't.

Keeping my Easter theme going in Western or Christian cultures. Lee distrust of 13 male.

Come from the.

Storey of the Last Supper. This was Jesus's last meal which he had with his apostles before he was crucified and how many apostles did you have?

30 May 12.

I was gonna.

See 1212 but then with him at the table as well, those 13 people together wasn't him.

Then it said that Judas, who betrayed Jesus, was the last person to take a.

Seat at the table.

I personally think Jesus should have stayed.

Standing and its guest sit down first, yeah?

I mean, son of.

God easier, better manners than that I know.

At least it if everyone.

Now washes you give them a good influence exactly.

So the idea that 13.

People sitting down together for dinner. Being unlucky possibly.

Became popular in the 18.

Hundreds, as these quotes tell, so this one's from 1823 I have known.

I now know Parsons and gentle life, who did and do not sit down to the table, unmoved with twelve others are notion is that one of the 13 so partaking will die air. The expiry of the year. So they believe.

That some would die if 13 people sit.

Down together under dinner table. Yeah, it's like musical chairs. Reset the share? Yeah exactly yeah, another quote here from 1839.

The old Storey runs that the last individual of the 13 who takes a seat has the greatest chance of being the doomed one.

Well, maybe it was the first person, as this quote from 1883 says.

Everyone knows that to sit down 13 at a table is the most unlucky. Omen should be followed by the death of one of the.

Party within a year.

Some say, however.

That the evil were only before the.

First, who leaves the table? Or maybe averted if the whole company are careful to rise for seats at the same moment?

We played a game at school like everyone had to stand up at the same time, but then we.

Had to look around.

And if someone was just not concentrate, yeah.

You would you would lose.

They would be the doomed on, yeah?

I kind of imagined people sitting at the tables in 1800s with.

11 guests around them, so 12 altogether and sweating on the arrival of one more person. Really hoping nobody else turns up and kind of doomsday all or one of them hoping they died at their last 13 city people. Yeah, even just sharing a room with twelve other people could be a problem, as this quote from 1711 mentions.

On a sudden old women, unluckily observed, there are 13 of us in company. This remark struck panicked and terror into several who were present.

But a friend of mine taking notice that one of our female companions was big with child affirms there were 14 in the room, so that's lucky, isn't it? Yeah, having a pregnant person, otherwise one of them would have been doomed.