Top 10 Easter Celebrations Around the World
Cheapflights takes a look at Easter traditions around the world:
Virtuous in Argentina
Easter is quite a big event in Argentina and various traditions are carried out to mark the occasion. Holy Week continues the style of fasting introduced by Lent where all meat is avoided apart from fish. As such, traditional dishes that normally include meat are replaced by seafood and fish. Good Friday is a rather somber event when people attend their local Christian parishes to observe the Station of the Cross or Via Crucis where Jesus is depicted during his final hours, carrying the Cross to his crucifixion. As is common to most Christian denominations, the Saturday before Easter is quiet in order to mark the mourning associated with the crucifixion and Sunday sees the start of celebrations.
Easter Sunday in Argentina consists of consuming and sharing eggs as well as the special Easter cake, Rosca de Pascua. Tradition holds that people exchange eggs not only with their family, but also with friends and colleagues and the day culminates in attending mass followed by a big family gathering involving lots of food. Argentinians tend to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection with a huge barbeque and a treasure hunt organized by the local governments in the main cities, so that everyone has a chance to participate.
Greece and Godliness go hand in hand. From Mythology to Christianity, Greek religious practices have always been carried out with great zeal. The Greek Orthodox Church follows the Byzantine calendar, so its Easter is celebrated on a different date, which is determined by the moon’s cycle. In Greece, it is the most sacred holiday of the year marked by a full week of celebration.
In Athens, Good Friday marks the first main event where a replica of Christ’s tomb is carried through town. The most sacred of Easter events takes place the following day when people flock to the churches at midnight carrying unlit candles for the declaration of Christ’s resurrection in saying “Christos Anesti” (Christ is Risen!) to which the reply is “Alithos Anesti” (He is risen indeed!). Following this announcement, they light their candles from the Holy Flame taken from Christ’s nativity cave in Jerusalem and walk through town enjoying a glorious display of fireworks, bells and jubilation.
Easter Sunday is a day of food and more fun. After an arduous 40-day fast, the menu comprises spit-fire roast lamb and lots of colored eggs. In the Orthodox tradition, you knock eggs with your neighbor attempting to crack theirs to bring yourself good fortune.
Ceremonious in Lebanon
Lebanon’s Christians not only make up almost half of the country’s population, but are also very fervent in their beliefs. As such, Easter is a big deal here. Visitors will notice the ornately decorated streets, shops and restaurants filled with all things Easter from bunnies to chocolate, painted eggs and even live baby chicks in some places. Good Friday is marked by a mass that symbolizes the crucifixion and, depending on one’s Christian denomination, can last up to three hours. Easter Sunday is a huge celebration where absolutely everyone goes to church. After taking communion, the 40-day fast comprising a strictly vegan diet, is broken with an absolute feast featuring lamb and lots of egg breaking. A custom that is particularly unique to Lebanon is Shanineh, which is held at church where candles decorated with ribbons and flowers are handed to children who form a procession and carry them around the church. Also unique to Easter in the region is the consumption of sweets called Maamoul, these are little cookies made with a mixture of semolina and butter then stuffed with either dates or ground sugared nuts and dusted with icing sugar. They melt in your mouth.
Egg Rolling in Scotland
Easter in Scotland is a mostly laid-back event. The Scots do the traditional things commonly associated with Easter like attending mass and having a big meal, but they also add a bit of fun, particularly for the kids. Easter fun here is all about eggs. After they’re boiled and painted in all kinds of colors and designs, they’re taken to the park hills for rolling on Easter Sunday. While it may just sound like playtime for the kids, the event is very symbolic as it is carried out to represent the rolling away of stones on Jesus’ tomb thereby assisting in His resurrection.
Celebration and Sobriety in Spain
In Spain, Easter is also the most important Christian event. Celebrated en mass throughout the country, Easter Week begins with Domingo de Ramas (Palm Sunday) and ends with Lunes de Pascua (Easter Monday). The country is marked by a carnival atmosphere throughout, with trumpets and drums.
Seville in Andalucia is the most famed Spanish region for Easter celebrations. It has 52 different religious brotherhoods whose members parade through the streets for the entire Holy Week manifesting the crucifixion. Processions continue for almost 24 hours culminating in the jubilation of the resurrection which is observed by floats covered in flowers, dancing in the streets and traditional sweet cakes.
Eggy Fun in Sweden
Easter in Sweden is about fun, food and festivity. It is especially good for family breaks as many of the Easter activities involve children.
Humor-filled celebrations commence on Easter Saturday with children dressing up as good witches setting the Easter mood by giving out letters and cards in return for eggs, sweets and coins.
On Easter Sunday, food takes center stage where, in typically Nordic fashion, the feast comprises mostly fish. Edibles include different kinds of herring, a selection of smoked salmon, a hint of roast ham and various cheeses. Of course, the main attraction are eggs which are exchanged and later used in a game where participants roll them down roofing tiles to see which egg can go the furthest without breaking.
All Bells en France
In France, church bells ring every day of the year except for the three days of Easter. Legend has it that the reason the bells stop ringing is because they’ve made a trip to Rome in order to be blessed. On Easter Sunday, the bells make their return and tour the entire country sprinkling chocolate eggs, chickens and rabbits as they go in each and every garden. After midday, children head to the gardens to find their hidden treasures left by the blessed bells. The day of events also includes a hearty meal, normally consisting of lamb, which is the Easter dish of choice in France.
Toy Hunting in Germany
Easter Baskets are the main tradition in Germany where each child receives a basket put together by their parents, containing not only eggs and chocolate, but also toys and other gifts. The baskets are hidden in the back garden and the kids have to hunt for it after church on Easter Sunday. This is particularly popular in rural areas where houses tend to have big gardens, sometimes comprising several levels and full of trees and bushes.
In more urban areas, families tend to go on an Easter walk and hide their Osternest, which means Easter nest, in the forest or a meadow and the kids go hunting for it during the walk. Alternatively, if the nest doesn’t appeal, some families like to hide chocolate eggs along the route of the walk.
Chocolate and Candy in the US
Apart from dressing up in one’s Sunday best and heading off to church on Easter Sunday, Easter in the US is, unsurprisingly, dominated by candy and chocolate. Various popular brands release a special line of sweet treats available only for the Easter period including Easter colored M&Ms, jelly beans, malted milk eggs, Cadbury Mini Eggs, Cadbury Creme Eggs, chocolate bunnies, Reese’s eggs, Peeps and Hershey’s miniatures with Easter colored wrappers.
Those headed to Washington, DC can enjoy one other very famous tradition where the White House opens its lawn to kids for some Easter egg rolling. This tradition was first carried out in 1878 and has continued ever since. Other attractions on the day include a visit with the Easter Bunny and an afternoon of storytelling.
Festivities and Feasts in Canada
Food, festivals and fun in general are the things that make up Canadian Easter celebrations. Those who are religious may attend church, but even those who aren’t partake in the festivities, which include putting on Easter plays, special songs, holding spring festivals and even winter festivals to signify the start of Lent and decorate with Easter lilies and the famous bunnies. A good meal is also enjoyed with the Easter menu featuring things like apple tart, Maple Baked Beans and Cape Breton Scones. Uniquely, Canada is also home to the world’s largest pysanka (Ukrainian Easter egg) located in Vegreville. The egg was constructed in 1975 in honor of the Ukrainian settlements in Edmonton. The egg is a symbol of life, prosperity, eternity and good fortune and is recognized the world over as an architectural masterpiece.