Easter Celebrations & Traditions Around the World
Easter around the world varies from place to place. In this post you can learn about a range of different Easter celebrations and Easter traditions around the world.
Easter Traditions Around the World
Are you looking for some new Easter traditions to try this year? Or maybe you’re just curious about how other people celebrate this popular holiday. Either way, read on to discover some of the most popular, and unique, Easter traditions around the world!
Easter Traditions around the world – Europe
In Europe Easter is quite a big celebration in many countries. Read more about Easter traditions in Europe below.
Easter Traditions in Italy
Considering Italy is the home of the Vatican, you can only imagine how important this holiday is in Italy. The festivities begin on Good Friday when the Pope celebrates the Stations of the Cross and Easter masses are held throughout Italy.
The rest of the weekend is spent watching, or participating, in solemn processions acting out the Stations of the Cross. On Easter Sunday, different towns host their own unique celebrations.
In Florence, they use a dove-shaped rocket to explode a decorated wagon filled with fireworks.
In Sulmona people dressed in green and white, to represent peace, hope, and resurrection, gather in the main plaza. A woman dressed in black, playing the role of the Virgin Mary, moves through the crowd toward the center of the plaza. Doves are released and suddenly her clothes turn green to represent the peace and hope that the resurrection brings.
On Easter Monday, some cities continue the fun with “La Pasquetta“. They host dances, free concerts, and play unique Easter games.
One of the most popular Easter traditions in Italy when it comes to food is the delicious Easter bread with eggs!
Easter Traditions in France
If celebrating Easter in France, be ready to eat some eggs. In Bessieres, France the Members of the Giant Omelette Brotherhood of Bessieres make a giant omelet, big enough to feed 10,000 people. They use around 15,000 eggs in this enormous omelet!
In the rest of France, they silence the church bells starting on Maundy Thursday and don’t ring them again until Sunday.
The legend states that the bells would travel to Rome for a blessing from the Pope and then make their way back to French churches for Easter mass, leaving chocolate eggs in gardens along the way.
Easter Traditions in Spain
Easter processions, similar to those held in other European countries, are common throughout Spain. However, instead of a 3-4 day celebration, Spain observes Semana Santa, or Holy Week.
Entire communities shut down for seven days to attend these sobering processions and reflect on the Stations of the Cross.
Some of the most elaborate processions take place in the Andalusian region. Instead of Easter eggs, the Spanish enjoy fried Easter treats like buñuelos, torrijas, and pestiños.
Easter Traditions in Greece
Easter is one of the most important Greek holidays. They begin the celebration seventy days before Easter with a three-week carnival.
Instead of pastel colored Easter eggs, the Greeks paint their eggs red. Red symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ and the egg itself symbolizes the sealed tomb.
On Easter Sunday, families play a game that is representative of releasing Christ from the tomb. They all sit around the table in pairs.
Each person tries to crack his opponent’s egg open by banging the eggs together until someone’s egg breaks.
Easter Traditions in Eastern Europe
I am not sure I would enjoy celebrating Easter in Eastern Europe. In the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland young men decorate willow stitches.
On Easter Monday, also called wet Monday in Poland, they go around “gently” whipping women to encourage good health and beauty. They also douse them with cold water.
It is kind of like Trick-or-Treating on Easter, after getting whipped or doused with water, the women give the men an Easter egg, tie a ribbon around their whip and invite them in for vodka and some food, or give them a coin.
Easter Traditions in Finland
In Finland, you may have little witches ringing your doorbell on Easter morning. The children come with birch twigs, which symbolize the palm branches laid down on Palm Sunday.
They dress as witches to poke fun at long ago fears that witches may be out and about on Easter Sunday.
They also enjoy an Easter dinner with traditional foods like roast lamb, Mämmi, and Pasha, two traditional desserts. In the evening, villages light large bonfires to keep away evil spirits.
Easter Traditions in Russia
In Russia, they spend Holy Week cleaning the house and preparing for the holiday. Everything has to be finished before “clean Thursday” so that they can spend the day dyeing eggs.
The Easter eggs are the most important part of the Russian Easter Celebration. The eggs symbolize resurrection and new life.
On Easter Sunday, they use the eggs to Easter play games focused on breaking the eggs open. The last person with an intact egg wins!
Easter Traditions in Norway
Norway puts a whole new spin on Easter. Sure, they eat some chocolate, adorn their homes with yellow decorations, and attend special church services, but that’s not all.
The whole country shuts down from Maundy Thursday until Easter Monday. Many people take the extra days off as an opportunity to go skiing or head to the beach while others stay home and binge on crime fiction.
Easter Traditions around the world – Americas
Next up in our Easter traditions around the world series is the Americas, read all about the Easter traditions and celebrations in the Americas below.
Easter Traditions in Bermuda
Although Bermuda is known for their Easter lilies, did you know they also enjoy flying kites, and making codfish cakes on Easter? Codfish cakes were once reserved for Good Friday and Easter Sunday but they are now available on the island year-round.
If you are in Bermuda on Good Friday, you will likely see brightly colored, homemade kites flying through the air. Originally, kite flying began after 3 pm on Good Friday but now it is an all-day event.
Easter Traditions in the United States
In the United States, Easter is not an official holiday. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t celebrated. The most well-known Easter traditions in the US are the Easter egg hunts and the Easter Bunny.
It is believed that the Easter Bunny comes the night before Easter and leaves children with treats and gifts. Later in the day, or sometimes on the days leading up to Easter, families, and communities host egg hunts, hiding eggs outside for children to find.
Another popular tradition is the Easter egg roll on the White House Lawn. This tradition dates back to the 1870s. Children gather at the White House South Lawn and roll their eggs while the President serves as referee.
Easter Traditions in Mexico
Easter is one of the most important holidays in Mexico. Since their culture was greatly influenced by the Spanish, Mexico also observes Semana Santa, taking an entire week off for Easter.
They host processions that portray the final days of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
In some cities, like Taxco, people participate in physical punishments.
In other towns, like San Miguel de Allende, they participate in a “Burning of the Judases“. They create paper maché dolls of disliked public figures and then explode them with fireworks.
Easter Traditions in Guatemala
In Guatemala, they also host processionals throughout the city. However, in Antigua, their processions are arguably more colorful than anyone else’s. They create intricate “alfombras”, or carpets, with sand and colored sawdust to line the parade route.
Easter Traditions around the World – Oceana
Down under Easter is a huge celebration, read more about Easter traditions in Oceana.
Easter Traditions in Australia
In Australia, there are Easter egg hunts, chocolate eggs, and hot cross buns but you will also find the Easter Bilby!
Bilbies are native animals to Australia and are the Easter icon. Although they used to occupy around 80% of the continent, they are now an endangered species. Some of the chocolate bilbies sold donate proceeds to help conserve the species.
Easter Traditions in New Zealand
Since the rabbits are partially to blame for the Bilby’s endangerment, the town of Alexandra uses Easter to do something about it. They have a giant Easter bunny hunt where hunters gather to lessen the rabbit population.
Easter Traditions in Papua New Guinea
Unfortunately, chocolate eggs would melt far too quickly in this climate. Instead, they hang tobacco and cigarettes on a tree that they divide among the congregation after the Sunday church service.
The youth put together a special Easter musical and then family and friends gather in smaller groups for an Easter dinner.
Easter Traditions around the world – Asia
Since the majority of the countries in Asia are not Christian, there aren’t many national Easter celebrations. However, the Philippines takes Easter very seriously.
Easter Traditions in the Phillipines
The entire week before Easter is dedicated to observing the holiday. Many go to church daily and stop eating meat or fish. Others adopt an all-liquid diet for the week.
Another common tradition is to reenact the torture Jesus Christ experienced. They have week-long street processions reenacting the traditional passion play. Some even wear crowns of thorns, whip themselves, or nail their hands and feet to a wooden cross.
On Easter Sunday, they place flower petals around the Virgin Mary to celebrate the salvation of the world.
Easter Traditions in Africa
In Africa many of the same Easter traditions are observed, family meals, giving gifts, and a special church service.
However, Easter is also a common time of year for baptisms to take place and even trips to the beach. Here are some ways these African countries makes Easter their own:
Easter Traditions in Ghana
Ghana becomes the center of arts and sports around Easter. They host the annual Easter Comedy with comedians from all over Africa.
The city of Kwahu hosts an annual paragliding festival for those who prefer more daring Easter traditions.
Easter Traditions in Ethiopia
Many populations choose to fast leading up to Easter but Ethiopia’s fast is far more intense.
Instead of fasting for 40 days, they fast for 56 days from all meat and dairy products.
On Easter Sunday, everyone wears white and breaks their fast with a special meal of spicy chicken stew, bread, and honey wine.
Easter Traditions in Nigeria
In Nigeria, Easter is a festival. In Southern Nigeria, the Igbo people have a special masquerade dance called Mmo.
Young men dress in colorful costumes to represent ancestral spirits and perform the dance.
Easter Around the world
Easter around the world is a time for families to come together to celebrate. While some celebrate Easter with chocolate bunnies or an egg hunt, others paraglide through the skies or join in somber processions.
However you choose to celebrate Easter, we hope you enjoyed learning about these diverse Easter traditions around the world.
Holidays Around the World
Read about more: Popular holidays around the world
- Christmas around the world
- New Year’s Eve around the world
- Valentines Day around the world
- Ramadan around the world
- Chinese New Year
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