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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Exploring Easter in Australia


While trying to figure out where I wanted to focus this year's Easter Around the World post I discovered there is a movement to change the Easter Bunny to the Easter Bilby in Australia and this sealed my choice! However I did not find much at the library to help in my research, so I texted my friend, Kelly from Happy Whimsical Hearts since she lives in Australia! She told me most families give chocolate eggs and have Easter egg hunts and eat hot cross buns. In Australia Good Friday and Easter Monday are national holidays (as well as Easter Sunday) and Holy Saturday is a state holiday in most Australian states. (Source) During national holidays schools, businesses and other organizations are closed. Most large shopping centers and stores are closed as well. Some small stores will be open for shorter hours and some public transportation is limited. (Source)


Easter Bilby

When I asked Kelly whether it was the Easter Bunny or the Easter Bilby she said there was a movement to try to change it but most people still say the Easter Bunny comes because of the books, movies and such that have the Easter Bunny. She did comment that it would be nice to have an Australian animal though. Rabbits are an introduced animal to Australia and are not well liked since they damage the land. (Source) The Foundation for Rabbit Free Australia explains the issues with rabbits in Australia
Easter Bilby
Easter Bilby By stephentrepreneur from Adelaide, Australia (I Shot the Easter Bilby!) 
[CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The bilby is an endangered animal and the first use of the Easter Bilby was in 1968 by a then 9-year-old Rose-Marie Dusting in Billy the Aussie Easter Bilby which she published 11 years later. This helped begin the push to try to save the bilby. Chocolate bilbies are sold at Easter time to replace the chocolate bunnies. Money from the sales is often donated to the effort to save the bilby. Australian children's book author Irena Sibley wrote three books about the Easter Bilby between 1994 and 2000 and Jeni Bright wrote Burra Nimu, the Easter Bilby in 1993 (you can read the story by following the link). The story shares so much of the land and wildlife of Australia. (Source) For more on bilbies check out our review of Bilby: Secrets of an Australian Marsupial by Edel Wignell.
 
Source: Australian Bilby Appreciation Society

 Easter Eggs


Chocolate eggs seem to be the most popular type of Easter eggs in Australia. Easter eggs are traditionally eaten on Easter Sunday. There are often egg hunts in parks and recreational areas. (Source)

Easter Egg Hunt (5623253840)
Easter Egg Hunt By aussiegall from sydney, Australia 
(Easter Egg Hunt) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I also found mention of egg knocking. Egg knocking is a game where each player holds an Easter egg. They tap their egg with another player's egg and the person who stays in the game is the one with the egg who's shell does not get cracked. (Source) I did not find much about coloring eggs. However Kelly has beautiful rainbow wooden eggs on her blog from last Easter. She did tell me they were more of a Waldorf craft than an Australian one.

Hot Cross Buns

  Hot cross buns are often eaten on Good Friday in Australia. They are sweet, spiced buns with a cross symbolizing Jesus' crucifixion on top of them. They often have dried fruit and leavened yeast in them though some now are chocolate flavored instead. They are available several weeks prior to Easter in Australia. (Source)
Hot Cross Bun from Jones the Grocer
Hot Cross Bun from Australian Grocer By Alpha 
[CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 Shows and Festivals


The Sydney Royal Easter Show is well known and runs for two weeks over Easter.  It is run by the Royal Agriculture Society of New South Wales. They were given permission to use Royal in the title of both the society and the show by Queen Victoria. It is a combination of an agriculture show, a fair and an amusement park. It is the largest event held in Australia and the sixth largest in the world. The first was held in 1823. It has been held almost every year since (except 1869, 1919 and between 1942 and 1946). (Source)
Hackney horse
Hackney Horse at The Sydney Royal Easter Show By Cgoodwin (Own work) 
[CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
The National Folk Festival is held in Canberra is also held around this time. There are also other music festivals throughout Australia as well as the Ulladulla Blessing of the Fleet. There are also many sporting events and games to watch and attend. (Source) The Three Peaks Race in Tasmania begins on Good Friday as well as the Brisbane to Gladstone yacht race and the Easter Racing Carnival in Sydney. (Source)  Easter Monday is often spent watching sports. The Stawell Easter Gift Athletic Competition is on Easter Monday as well as the ones that began on Good Friday. (Source)

Since Easter provides a four day weekend in the early fall many families also go on a mini-vacation. It often coincides with a school holiday as well. (Source)


 For some Australian Easter crafts, Kelly recommended checking out Happy Crafty Family, another Australian blog. I hope you enjoyed our look at Easter in Australia! This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs Easter Around the World 2016 Series. Please be sure to check out the other posts to see how Easter is celebrated around the world! Series on Easter around the world 

Explore the diverse traditions of Easter around the world with us, and don't miss our series from last year and this wonderful overview of global Easter traditions. You can also find these posts and more on our Easter Around the World Pinterest board: Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs's board Easter Around the World on Pinterest.
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