How is Easter Celebrated Around the World?
5 April 2023
Have you ever wondered how Easter is celebrated in different countries? Read on for all the unique ways Easter is celebrated around the world!
Easter is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world, with at least 95 countries embracing the chocolate eggs and hot cross buns. Although it’s often associated with Christian traditions and Western culture, it’s also observed in various cultural contexts. From Easter egg hunts to religious processions, the celebration of Easter is a rich tapestry of customs, beliefs, and practices.
In this post, we look at some of the unique ways Easter is celebrated around the world.
They love Easter in Germany! One of their most famous holiday traditions is that of the Easter Egg tree, otherwise known as ostereierbaum. This tradition involves decorating trees and bushes with hand decorated eggs, creating colourful displays from the natural landscape.
Branches are also used and decorated in homes (similar to a small Christmas tree), while larger trees are displayed in local parks.
The biggest Easter Egg tree stood for 50 years in Saalfeld, Germany, which held up to 50,000 eggs – all hand decorated by one German family.
In Sweden, Easter is celebrated with the tradition of the Easter Witch. Children (and even some of the grown-ups) dress up as witches, complete with broomsticks, headscarves and painted faces. The ‘witches’ then go door-to-door, offering painted eggs in exchange for sweets, similar to Halloween trick-or-treating. The tradition dates back centuries and is still observed by Swedish locals to this day!
For many Catholics around the world, Easter is the most important time of year. In Rome – one of the most devout cities in the world – Holy Week is a particularly significant event, with various processions and religious ceremonies occurring throughout the week.
On Good Friday, a procession takes place in which the Pope leads the fourteen stations of the cross from the Colosseum, with thousands of people following behind, carrying candles. The children get involved in the festival by singing songs and assisting in church services.
4. South Africa
Easter in South Africa is a time for faith, food and family. Locals typically gather for an afternoon church service on Easter Sunday, followed by a family get together to enjoy traditional South African foods such as roast lamb, pickled fish and braai (South African barbecue).
However, since the 1980s, the day after Easter Sunday is recognised as Family Day. This is an official public holiday which is observed to encourage families from all faiths to spend the day with their loved ones.
In Greece, Easter is celebrated with the Orthodox Christian tradition of the Holy Fire. The night before Easter Sunday, a flame is lit at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and flown to Greece, where it is used to light candles in churches across the country.
This tradition dates back 1,200 years, and is celebrated widely as the flame is believed to be a symbol of the resurrection of Christ. Crowds of up to 10,000 gather around the Holy Sepulchre for the event, chanting ‘Kyrie eleison’ which translates to ‘Lord, have mercy.’
When you think of Easter, kites probably don’t come to mind. However, in Bermuda, no Good Friday is complete without the locals getting out into the fresh air and flying homemade kites around the natural landscapes.
The origin of this tradition dates back to a Bermudan Sunday school teacher explaining the resurrection of Christ through a kite demonstration. Ever since, kites and Easter have become intertwined in Bermuda.
On Easter Sunday, Poles get up bright and early (6am) for the Resurrection mass. Following the service, families gather for a hearty breakfast of cold meats, eggs, bread and pâté. Cakes, sweets and cheesecakes are enjoyed throughout the day, making Polish Easter one of the tastiest around the world!
The Monday after, however, takes an interesting twist with children throwing buckets of water on each other in a tradition known as Wet Monday (they take water fights very seriously!).
In Brazil, the town of Ouro Preto is known for its elaborate Holy Week celebrations. The town’s churches and roads are decorated with flowers and lights, making brilliant artwork throughout the streets. Additionally, processions take place throughout the week, with participants carrying images of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.
Easter is a holiday that is celebrated in many different ways around the world, each with its unique traditions and customs. Whether it’s a religious procession, the decoration of Easter trees, dressing up as witches or just enjoying some hot cross buns, Easter is a time to come together with family and friends, celebrate the arrival of spring, and reflect with those closest to you.