Easter is the celebration that is held on the first Sunday after the first full moon in spring. It means that the celebration can take place between March 21 and April 25. A 40-day fast precedes the holiday and Easter means the time of fun and celebration for many people.
The word Easter originates from the name of the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and dawn. When it fell under the influence of Christianity, it acquired the current meaning. Many traditions of celebrating this goddess were also transformed into Christian Easter traditions. It includes painting the eggs into different colours (eggs were the symbol of fertility in pagan times).
Easter is celebrated differently in various countries. Let’s see what their traditions are!
- Germany: The traditions of Germans go back to the ancient times, when they honoured the goddess of spring Eostre. Back then, they already cooked and colored eggs that symbolized a new life. They also had rabbit as a symbol of Easter long before it arrived to other countries. Other traditions in Germany also include eating fish (which is considered a symbol of Christianity) and hiding baskets with painted eggs, toys and sweets for children to find them. Happy Easter in German is Frohe Ostern.
- France: The French have their own name for Easter, which is Paques. France is the country where the dominant religion is Roman Catholicism. Therefore, all cities, towns and villages have at least one church. On Thursday before Good Friday, they silence all bells in all churches to mourn Jesus’ crucifixion and acknowledge his sacrifice. Bells start ringing on Easter morning to celebrate the resurrection. In many villages there is a tradition to hug and kiss each other when the bells are ringing. Everything else is the same as in other countries: coloured eggs, bunnies and chocolates. Happy Easter in French is Bonnes Pâques or Joyeuses Pâques.
- Spain: In Spain, people celebrate not only the Easter day but also the whole week. They call it Semana Santa, which translates as ‘Holy Week’. The Spanish hold a special parade where people wear penitential robes to represent the sacrifice of Christ and reconciliation with God. If you think that there is only a solemn way to celebrate Easter, you need to know that they also have time for fun during the feast. As an Easter dish, people cook the torrijas, which is bread soaked in milk, egg and sugar and fried in olive oil. The Spanish also serve syrup, sugar, cinnamon and honey to the torrijas. Happy Easter in Spanish is Felices Pascuas.
- Brazil: In Brazil, there are many Christians and they hold a big party to observe Easter. The celebrations start with the rituals of Holy Week that involve blessing palm branches and holding processions. Massive feasts take place long before Easter to mark the Lent. One of the symbols of Easter is the Macela flower that blooms only during the Lent. Happy Easter in Portuguese is Feliz Páscoa.
These were the Easter traditions from different countries. Which ones did you like the most?