As with most holidays, Easter comes with its share of unusual traditions. But while egg hunts and stealthy bunnies still remain mysteriously but firmly tied to this springtime celebration, some customs have fallen by the wayside. One of these is the 18th century English tradition of “lifting.”

“Lifting” was basically what it sounds like—on Easter Monday, men would lift women into the air on chairs or on clasped arms. On Tuesday the roles would reverse, with women lifting men. It seems the custom was to heave the chosen person into the air at least three times, after which they’d typically give you some money to leave them alone.

Below is an amusing clipping found in an 1880 paper that illustrates just how a lifting might go:


Easter “lifting” tradition Fri, Mar 26, 1880 – 1 · The Aegis & Intelligencer (Bel Air, Maryland) ·

The lifting tradition didn’t last much past the early 1800s, though there seem to be some attempts to revive it in recent years. What do you think—will “lifting” take off again?

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