In the Wallonia village of Wépion, near Namur, Belgians have made it a tradition to hunt for something very different from chocolate eggs around Easter. In seven years time, the digging up of erotic toys in a giant field has become a sex-positive phenomenon worthy of the Belgian surreal stamp of approval.
On Sunday, April 9th, a record-breaking 8,500 women – and some men decked out in women’s clothing – rushed out onto a field in a small Walloon town known for its strawberry plantations, boots strapped on and shovels held aloft. Despite all the enthusiasm and colourful outfits, only about 15 out of every hundred participants would eventually strike gold that afternoon. And by gold, we mean sex toys. Or rather, wooden boxes with coupons in them that grant the finder one free plaything from organising supplier Soft Love.
The sex toy vendor assumed the role of a particularly playful Easter bunny in 2010, and has since watched their quirky hunt explode in size. While the growing La Chasse aux Sex-Toys was in danger of being eliminated after the 2015 edition due to a lack of funds, a petition signed by 3,400 women and feminist organisations urged the Soft Love people to look for solutions. Sponsors like Coca-Cola and beer giant Jupiler were searched for and found, and for the first time an entry price of €2.50 euros was charged. Founder Nicolas Bustin still isn’t intent on eking out a profit though.
Instead, the sex-positive company teamed up with Think Pink, a large Belgian organisation raising awareness around breast cancer. Now a vehicle encouraging more open communication around sex and an event donating its entry fees to charity, the yearly stunt has resonated with friend groups and couples alike. With an especially sunny 2017 edition nearing the 10,000 participant mark and a fire truck even being employed to hose people down when the water bottles ran out, the Belgians seem to have adult Easter hunting all figured out. Who wouldn’t like to spend a beautiful Sunday digging their way to bedroom treasure for a good cause? Well, maybe two good causes.