Easter around the world
Funny bunnies, colorful eggs, singing chicks, tons of flowers. The Easter atmosphere is everywhere: the shop windows painted in many colors. Are you curious to discover the traditions and the typical Easter dishes? Let’s find out together on this trip around the world!
Easter in Italy
In Italy, since the Sunday before Easter, known as Palm Sunday, we celebrate different rites. On this day, in fact, children bring to church clasped palms to commemorate Jesus’ entry in Jerusalem. In the days preceding Easter, especially Thursday and Friday are celebrated different rites.
On Thursdays, there is a visit to the grave and on Friday, considered as a day of mourning, we participate in the representations of the Passion of Christ. On Saturday at midnight, the bells ring in celebration the resurrection.
On Easter morning, many processions occur, recalling the joyful encounter between Jesus and the Virgin Mary and churches give the olive branches, a symbol of peace. On Easter Monday, it is dedicated to excursions, picnics outdoors with the family. The typical Easter sweets are the lamb of marzipan and chocolate eggs, the children’s favorites.
The egg, in the past, symbolized the rebirth of nature in the transition from winter to spring. With the Christian faith, the egg became a symbol of the renewal of man, and in this case of Jesus.
And for this reason, we decorate the houses with many colorful eggs, and we give children chocolate eggs. In Sicily, in addition to these sweets, there is the ancient tradition of “cuddura cu l’ovu,” that is a dove-bunny shaped sweet with a boiled egg in the center.
Easter in France
The church bells don’t sound from Friday to Sunday. They tell children that the bells have flown away to Rome. On Easter morning children run away to look up the bells in the sky. While children are busy to find out the flying bells, parents hide chocolate eggs that children will find after.
Easter in Germany
Here, according to the tradition, the Maundy Thursday they eat only green foods. Parents paint the eggs and put them in the Easter Bunny (Osterhase), that the parents hide for the treasure hunt on Sunday.
Lamb is usually the base for lunch. In northern Germany, there are the Easter fires lit by natural means with the silica or by rubbing two pieces of wood, or with a large lens; sometimes the lights of the churches are turned off and then turned back on with the flame of this “sacred fire.” The ashes are then scattered by farmers to the fields to appease the harvest and symbolize the end of winter and the coming of spring.
Easter in Spain
The Easter tradition in Barcelona is felt especially during Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus’ entry in Jerusalem welcomed with palms and olive branches. Palm trees are twisted sections, but there are also “palmons” which are the whole branches.
These are worn by children in church because they are blessed and hang the doors and windows and palm trees “palmons” to protect the house from witches and evil spirits. In Catalonia, it is traditional to eat an Easter cake, called “Mona,” decorated with chocolate eggs, feathers and a small chocolate figure that represents a known character to children or one from fairy tales. The godfather traditionally gives a dessert to the godson. Here the traditions are very attentive to the welfare of others. In fact, they pay much attention to the neediest, with offerings of food, aid to the elderly.
In London, for example, the use of the Royal Maundy Gifts, is commemorated in Westminster Abbey where money bags are donated to the poor.
The grants are distributed by the sovereign on a silver tray, after the religious ceremony. On the Good Friday, there is still the custom to carry the pastries made with cinnamon and raisins, topped with a cross of icing sugar to remember the passion of Christ. Another tradition is to roll colored eggs on a lawn or along a street until all the shells break; This takes place in Preston, where the eggs run on a grassy slope. Another fun tradition is the battle of the boys competing for eggs and chocolate cakes.
Easter in Denmark
Usually, there is a great treasure hunt for children: Rabbits (adults) hide some eggs. The kids who collect the most eggs win. For adults, the real treasure is the beer, or rather the Påskebryg, a particular version produced only at this time. For Easter lunch, everything is yellow: Tablecloth table, clothes, decorations, and even candles!
Easter in Sweden
During the Palm Sunday poplars (branches of the white poplar buds that resemble cattail) are blessed. Whereas in the days leading up to Easter, children dress up as witches, and make a sort of “trick or treat,” carrying, door to door, Easter postcards and getting in exchange of sweets or coins. According to the Swedish tradition, in fact, in addition to the Christian resurrection, this day also symbolizes the departure of the witches towards the Blue Mountains. The cake is an Easter bunny.
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Easter in Finland
Here we celebrate a pagan festivity, welcoming the return of Spring. People decorate the house with birch branches and paper flowers, and as in Sweden, kids dress as witches collecting sweets in the neighborhood. On Sunday there is the “Kokko,” bonfires that repel witches and magical inhabitants of the woods.
Typical Easter foods are the Pasha, a white cheese pudding, cream, sugar, butter and eggs, and Mammi, a rye pudding.
Easter in Greece
The Greek rituals are greek-orthodox. In fact, there is no match in the calendar with the festivities that here begin already on Monday before Lent with flying kites. On Good Friday they fast; on Easter night the bells ring, and the faithful go to church, kept in the dark, enlighten just with a candle. After days of fasting, they have lunch with the “soupa mayeritsa” accompanied by Greek rice, with red colored eggs, with the Easter bread and the typical “Maghiritsa,” a soup made from lamb’s interior.
Easter in Bulgaria
In the days before the Passover, they cook the “kozunaks,” which are colored eggs. The first egg to be colored is red, because it can bring health. At midnight on Holy Saturday, people exchange greetings and Easter eggs.
Easter in Romania
On Easter night they celebrate the end of Lent with painted eggs, which are broken and slammed against each other while repeating a chorus of repartee: Hristos a înviat! (Christ has risen) and adevarat a înviat! (Truly He has risen!). The festive menu is ciorba based (a sour soup), roast lamb and cake “drob,” made with lamb’s liver and parsley.
Easter in Russia
The Orthodox Easter falls a week after the Catholic one and is celebrated with great solemnity with a Mass celebrated at midnight. During the celebration, the worshipers, holding a candle, exchange the traditional triple kiss: immediately after starting to ring the bells and then it begins the Feast of the resurrection.
Here, the day of the Resurrection the families celebrate with a picnic, on the grave of a relative. The menu usually is meat, fish, and mushrooms. Here boiled eggs are colored, and the sweet of the feast is the “Kulitch,” a cake with fresh white cheese. In the evening they do a banquet with different types of meat, fish, and mushrooms, with “Pabcha“, a hearty dish made of quarks. In Russia boiled eggs are colored in red, symbolizing new life achieved through the sacrifice of Christ.
Easter in Mexico
According to tradition, the day of Holy Thursday is dedicated to a touring of seven churches to confess their sins. On Friday they participate in various processions and representations of Christ’s Passion, and on Saturday they put on the Burning of Judas, where a cardboard figure is given to the flames.
Easter is celebrated throughout the day and often into the night. On Easter Monday they go to the beach. Here they decorate the shells, called “cascarones“, are filled with confetti and wrap in paper. These shells “fillings” are then broken over the heads of friends as a sign of greeting.
Easter in the US
One of the most popular traditions in America is hunting decorated eggs (Easter Egg), which are hidden at night “by a mischievous rabbit”. More and eggs are the focus of another Easter tradition deeply felt in the United States, which is to make them roll (without breaking them) in the garden of the White House.
In the US parades are organized: one of the most famous in America is the one that starts from the Cathedral of Saint Patrick in New York. The dinner traditionally includes rabbit or baked ham, the latter especially in the South, accompanied by sweet potatoes. Typical desserts are eggs, rabbits, chicken-shaped chocolate, and the gingerbread lambs.
Happy Easter week from Mash&Co.