There is one saying that says – How many villages, so many customs. This applies to all holidays, including Easter. There are those customs that are, so to say, official, and there are those that have been passed down from generation to generation and that carry the remnants of paganism. The good fact is that people strive to enrich the holidays with a whole range of customs and that way make them even more enjoyable, beautiful and diverse. Easter traditions and customs around the world have many similarities but also different ways of celebrating this great holiday. Easter Traditions And Customs Around The World
The most common custom for Easter is to give Easter colored eggs to family members and friends. This practice, like knocking on Easter eggs, is a pagan custom and dates back to the ancient Egyptians and Persians who exchanged eggs on the eve of spring as a symbol of new life and fertility. The calendar overlay of Easter and Spring has led to the takeover of this activity, so it’s enjoyed by almost every nation celebrating this holiday.
Easter Customs In Our Country (In America)
In America people traditionally organize the hunt for Easter eggs, which involves hiding eggs around the house and yard. Relatives and parents hide eggs of all kinds, from real ones, painted ones, wooden ones to plastic and chocolate ones. And children believe that Easter bunny hid them during the night. On Easter mornings, children with baskets go looking for eggs inside their home and garden.
Usually, in addition to eggs, some small presents are waiting for them, such as chocolate bunnies and similar treats or toys. The winner of the game is the one who collects the most eggs. There is a Mass on Easter morning and Easter parades. The U.S. president is organizing a big egg roll at the White House garden on Easter Monday. Tens of thousands of children and parents participate in this event, which is traditional.
So, in America, specifics for Easter are church services, Easter eggs, and baskets full of sweets. We’ll stop by at a few stations around the world and check together how they do it and what Easter means to them…
Easter Traditions and Customs Around the World
Throughout the Christian part of the world, Easter abounds in many interesting customs. Easter traditions and customs around the world are very colorful, very often they vary from country to country, and sometimes there are striking similarities. People celebrate Easter with special church services, music, candlelight, flowers, and church bells ringing. Some countries even have Easter parades.
Many Christians see Easter as the biggest holiday in the church year and as a day of joy and celebration. Kids enjoy decorating their eggs and looking for eggs hidden by the Easter bunny. Children are also get presents, baskets full of candy, eggs, snacks, sweets… Easter eggs and bunnies are symbols of this great holiday, and they mean fertility. There is plenty of paganism in the celebration, but it’s something that’s hard to avoid.
How Is Easter Celebrated In The World?
We are first in the North Europe. In Norway, but also in general, Scandinavians read crime novels. Reading a novel in this country begins 5 days before Easter. TV stations broadcast series and films by Agatha Christie, and publishers are planning to release her crime-themed novels. It’s weird, it’s unusual, but that’s what Norwegians do. The only connection to Easter could be Jesus’ brutal execution. Norwegians and Danes carry pockets of unleavened bread that they wrap in white linen on Holy Saturday to eat at midnight.
Sweden and Finland are countries where children decorate with small wooden sticks, so they walk around from house to house dressed as witches, changing them for sweets. This ritual is a mixture of different customs. The color of Easter in Sweden is yellow. Eggs aren’t brought by bunnies but by baby chickens. People decorate their homes with birch twigs and feathers and the children go out into the streets and make as much noise as they can. This announces the end of pre-Christmas silence.
Easter Traditions and Customs Around the World – Central Europe
In honor of Easter, wreaths of greenery decorated with apples, oranges, and multicolored ribbons are placed on tall wooden pillars in Austria. During Easter, Austria is rich in cultural events, culinary specialties, as well as traditional religious customs. Each province in this country has its specifics. Numerous markets throughout the country provide an opportunity to experience a part of Austrian customs and culture during the Easter holidays.
One of the main customs in Germany is rolling colored eggs down a hill, and the winner is the person whose egg first arrives at the destination – undamaged. In some parts of Germany, the victory of spring over winter is emphasized by the burning of Easter fire from a used Christmas tree. In Germany, homes are decorated with branches with colored eggs. Also, the youngest in the gardens hide baskets with eggs and chocolate figurines.
The end of fasting in Poland is at Easter Sunday Mass when they bless the basket filled with food and then empty it into the church. In some parts of Poland, people pour water on Easter Monday. Tradition in this country says that a man does not participate in the preparation of Easter bread. That’s because his mustache will be gray and the dough will not work. So the Poles are freed from this job. Congratulating the holidays and giving away the Easter dove “Paloma di Pasqua”, a cake with dried fruit is an interesting custom in Switzerland for Easter. In Bern, gathering people of all generations in the town square and egg-laying are interesting.
Interesting customs come from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary, they symbolically whip their wives with Easter decorations on various Easter ribbons. They do this to preserve beauty and health in the next year!
…More Easter World Customs – Western Europe
Britain has a widespread custom of dancing with Easter eggs. The eggs are laid on the ground and the dancers move among them with the goal of not damaging them during the dance. People who meet in England on Easter are pounding the goat willows that they pick. Children in Britain are unaware of Easter eggs and rabbits as customs, as there were specific walks and parades in this country, such as those of the Carnival that are more popular.
In Scotland, fires are burning on the hills. In this country, much like in the Netherlands, adults symbolically beat boys to expel bad behavior. There is a saying for a mild punishment in Scotland – “beaten like it’s for Easter”. Ireland is proud of an unusual tradition, which is to bury herrings in the ground. Burial represents a kind of farewell to fasting and fasting preceding Easter and the announcement of re-enjoyment of meat and meat products.
In France people throw Easter eggs up in the air, and there’s a habit of tapping eggs also. In France, church bells don’t ring for three days. And after that they ring for Easter and people congratulate each other on Easter with hugging and kissing. The kids stay in circles and enjoy themselves, throwing their eggs up in the air. The French, near the border with Spain, annually on the Easter Monday, break 4500 eggs for a giant omelet. Then, they serve the omelet on a thousand plates. Everyone who wants to be a part of this tradition brings a few eggs to the main square at lunchtime.
East Netherlands light Easter fires at dusk. In the vicinity of Magdeburg, adults symbolically beat boys to drive out bad behavior.
Mediterranean Countries At Easter
Spain nurtures processions involving men dressed as skeletons. Also, on Easter morning, young men bring ordinary palm twigs, while the girls decorate their twigs with treats. In Spain, rafters are decorated with figures representing characters from the biblical story of the Resurrection of Christ. There are also parades and feasts.
Greece is a country where everyone makes Mayertis soup for Easter. In this country people eat eggs from Saturday night. There is a most unusual Easter custom on the Greece island of Corfu. Specifically, on Holy Saturday, they throw dishes out the window as an expression of anger over Judah’s betrayal. The most common dishes in Greece for Easter are roasted lamb, donkey, donuts, and eggs painted red. These eggs symbolize the very act of being born again, while the red indicates Christ’s blood. As the priest sings the Resurrection hymn, the believers exchange nice wishes and kiss each other with so-called kisses of love.
Italians traditionally eat a special Easter cake, “Torta di Pasqua,” a salty egg and spinach cake. In addition to this salty cake, the obligatory part of the Easter menu is the Colomba di Pasqua bread and cake. Characteristic of its cultural diversity, Italy is particularly prominent in its richness of folk customs and traditions. Italy is also known for Easter processions and magic eggs. Children in the area of Parma especially enjoy this tradition.
A few more Easter Traditions and Customs Around the World – Countries of Southern and Eastern Europe
In Bulgaria, the oldest woman in the family, with a red-colored egg patterns on her face, cuddles every child in the family. Also, after Mass, people throw their eggs at the church wall. On Saturday people place flour, salt, yeast, and dyed eggs on the windows, and they also make bread on Easter Monday. This bread announces a fruitful year. Romania nurtures the traditional home cleaning and buying new clothes. In Romania, people nurture the custom of making homemade bread on Easter Monday, just as they do it in Bulgaria.
Croatian Easter customs are as diverse as vigils, Easter bonfires, colorful Easter eggs. People go to Easter Mass and sing songs. Fiancees also exchange Easter eggs as a symbol of love. Also, Easter eggs are a gift and pledge of a fruitful agricultural year or a sign of faithfulness and affection among friends.
The most recognizable custom in Serbia gifting colored eggs. A red Easter egg means joy for both those who give it and those who receive it. Egg coloring is traditionally on Good Friday. The first colored egg is the “guardian of the household” and people save it until the next Easter. There is a church service on Easter. After the service, the people greet each other with, “Christ is risen!” and “Truly, the Christ is risen!” There’s a decorated bowl with painted eggs on the table that guests and hosts tap between themselves. The winner is the one whose egg stays undamaged.
Russians enjoy lamb on butter or they roast ham, and as a dessert they serve Kulich. It’s a sourdough cake with rum and saffron, and there’s a Pag, a pyramid-shaped cheesecake. Easter is a favorite holiday for Russians of a total of eight holidays a year. Opinion polls show that 82% of the population celebrates Easter, which is a percentage higher than the celebration of Christmas. Easter celebration in Russia begins with the end of Lent. Eggs and cuisines are brought to the church for consecration and are served on the table at Easter.
We Continue Our Journey Over the Planet… And we Explore the Easter World Even Further
In Australia, it’s custom for fiances to go to a nearby stream or river and take running water there and put it in a bottle. That water stands up to their wedding, and then future spouses spill that water. According to the belief, it brings happiness. In New Zealand, Easter is a massive rabbit hunt. Hundreds of New Zealand hunters search for rabbits and traditionally kill them on Easter weekend. The goal of this killing tradition is to kill as many rabbits as possible. New Zealanders consider rabbits to be pests that destroy crops and the harvest.
During Easter week, nobody works in Nicaragua and people go to the sea. A lot of people take part in the procession and the kids are in costumes. The customs are a combination of native and Christian customs, as in other Latin American countries. In Venezuela, people commemorate Easter in the streets, with a festive wardrobe with a cross in hand. On Holy Week, rice and coconut milk, as well as fish soup, are on the table. Unfortunately, gang rallies spoil the relaxing holiday atmosphere in the streets of capital.
In Mexico, something like the reconstruction of Jesus’ path is taking place. The town of Iztapalapi is hosting a redevelopment involving about 500 actors and about one million visitors. It all began in the 1940s when cholera ruled the city, whose epidemic took many lives. The spread of the disease was mysteriously interrupted by the sight of the cross and thus a new custom was born. This is a country where there are almost no Easter eggs, chickens or rabbits. The reason for this is that Mexicans don’t want to allow foreign customs to overshadow their traditional ones. The whole nation is on holiday throughout the big week.
Easter traditions and customs around the world are different. The world is otherwise full of differences, but it is best to forget the differences, to respect and honor them more accurately. Also, we mustn’t forget what binds us and what we have in common. And that is the risen Jesus who brings peace and joy to life.
Good Friday this year 2021 falls on April 2, and Easter will knock on our door on April 4, earlier than last year. Last year, Easter was April 12. Due to differences in the Western and Eastern calendar this year, the Eastern Church will celebrate Orthodox Easter on May 2. Interestingly, on several occasions, the Easter celebrations coincided in both the East and the West. This happened in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2017. And again, East and West will celebrate Easter together in 2025.
More on Easter as an inspiration, dates, ways to count, and more, find out in my text https://single-moms-way.com/easter-and-easter-spirit-reminder-of-lifes- glory /
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