The most interesting Easter customs from around the world Easter is the most important Christian holiday, commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated annually on the first Sunday after the first full moon, following the first day of spring. All over the world the reason to celebrate is the same, but the ways of celebrating are different. Get to know the most interesting Easter customs around the world.
Easter customs in Anglo-Saxon countries
Easter in England
In England, the celebration of Easter dates back to before the advent of Christianity in these lands. As in the case of many other Christian holidays, the roots of the Easter traditions also go back to pagan customs.
Linguists say that the English name Easter is derived from the name Eostre – the Anglo-Saxon and Old Germanic goddess of spring, dawn and fertility, who also ruled the world of the dead.
One of the most famous Easter traditions in England is the Easter Egg Hunt. What is it? This is a habit that children especially love. Every year on Easter Sunday they have to look for sweets, like chocolate Easter eggs, hidden by adults in the garden. This Easter fun is also cherished overseas, in the United States.
A typical British custom is for the queen to give deserving elderly citizens a symbolic sum of money (called maundy money), packed in white and red leather pouches. Every year, the queen presents a gift to as many people as how old she is.
Easter in the USA
In the United States, Easter is not as popular as Christmas or Thanksgiving. Mainly Easter Sunday is celebrated. Easter customs in the USA are similar to those in Great Britain. So there is the Easter Egg Hunt as well. There are also traditional races with rolling eggs (called an Easter Egg Roll). In the US, the most important race, in which families invited by the presidential couple take part, takes place on the front lawn of the White House. This Easter tradition dates back to 1878.
Easter in Australia
One of the most interesting Australian Easter customs is replacing the easter rabbit with a bilby. Where did this idea come from? Rabbits in Australia are treated as pests. The rodents were brought to the continent by British colonizers. They liked it so much in Australia that in the early 1920s their number was estimated at 10 billion! Rabbits led to the extinction of one of the two species of indigenous rodents on the continent – the bilby. The second one is still on the list as endangered. No wonder that Australians do not like the traditional Easter bunny and in 1991 they started a campaign to use a bilby as an Easter pet, and produced confectionery in the shape of this indigenous Australian animal.
Easter in Bermuda
Bermuda is also worth mentioning among the Easter customs in other Anglo-Saxon countries. The inhabitants of these beautiful islands, and tourists who visit this part of the British empire, celebrate Good Friday in a phenomenal way. On this day, the islands host a kite festival. Thousands of colorful, fanciful constructions fill the skies over Bermuda, which locals say is to commemorate Christ’s Ascension.
The most interesting Easter customs in different countries
What Easter customs are there in other countries around the world? We looked at some of them.
In the far north, during Easter, Norwegians turn into detectives. All thanks to something called Påskekrimmen. Literally translated, these are Easter crime novels, which Scandinavians read over the Easter weekend. As you can see, in Norway, one of the most-cultivated Easter customs is secular. In addition to crime novels, the inhabitants of the north also like to celebrate these days actively, which is why they often go skiing during this period.
Finns celebrate Easter as unusually as the Norwegians do. One of the Finnish Easter traditions is children dressed as witches who ask adults for chocolate eggs on the streets of cities and towns. An inherent attribute of the little Easter witches are scarves on their heads and birch twigs decorated with feathers.
What Easter traditions are there in countries other than the Scandinavian ones? In France, and more specifically in the city of Haux, you can try a huge Easter omelette. The dish is prepared in the main square, and it is one of the biggest tourist attractions of the village. After all, it is not every day that you can admire the preparation of an omelette from 15,000 eggs, which can feed over 1,000 people.
You can also encounter impressive Easter customs in Spain. In the Catalan town of Verges, every year on Maundy Thursday, a special procession takes place – La Danza de la Muerte, which means the dance of death. During this phenomenal Easter event, death is represented by 10 people dressed as skeletons. This celebration attracts residents of the surrounding towns and foreign tourists.
Another Spanish city where the colorful processions (Semana Santa) attract crowds of tourists is Seville. Celebrators go out to the streets and accompany orchestras dressed in decorative, colourful robes. These processions and marches are organized by religious fraternities. Each fraternity has a different outfit. The common element, however, are the pointed hoods that cover the faces of the march participants. The procession is also attended by women wearing veils (mantillas). They are also called wailers. They are a group of women dressed in elegant, black clothes as a sign of mourning for Jesus.
The resurrection in Greece is celebrated on a grand scale. On the island of Corfu, on Holy Saturday, it is a tradition to throw a clay pitcher from the windows onto the street. In this way, the streets of Corfu are filled with broken vessels that land in large numbers on the sidewalks. This is often watched by crowds of residents and tourists.
In Florence, Italy, an element of the Easter tradition is an exploding cart, called the Brindellone. It is about a 9 meters long ornate cart, which is pulled through the city by a pair of white oxen and is filled with fireworks. They are set off by the archbishop during the Easter mass. He does this with the help of the Colombina – a dove-shaped rocket that flies into the cart along a wire stretched from the altar. The custom in the old days was supposed to ensure a good harvest.
Dyngus Day and other Slavic Easter traditions
During our journey through Easter customs in various countries, it is now the turn for Poland and the other Slavic nations. One of the traditions common to both Poles and Hungarians is pouring water on each other on Easter Monday. In Poland, this tradition is sonorously called “Śmigus Dyngus”. In Hungary, apart from pouring water, sprinkling with perfumes and colognes is also practiced.
Wet Monday is associated with another traditional Easter symbol – Easter eggs. By buying them, women could escape getting drenched with water and spend Holy Monday dry. The first mentions of Easter eggs in the Polish lands come from the 10th century.
In the Czech Republic, on the other hand, the traditional symbolic Easter flogging with willow twigs has survived. To this day, on the second day of Easter, men flog women’s naked calves. This custom is also known in Poland, in Silesia.
Easter dishes around the world
We cannot have Easter without traditional dishes. The celebrations are slightly different in almost every country and the differences are also visible on the tables. Poles cannot imagine Easter without sour rye soup (żurek), i.e. a sour soup made with rye flour. This soup has to be eaten with an egg and white sausage. The latter reigns on Polish Easter tables. The white sausage is made from unsmoked, ground pork with the addition of beef and veal in a thin pork casing. For quite some time now, the cult vegetable salad with mayonnaise has been an indispensable Easter dish.
What Easter dishes are popular in other countries?
- Germany – garden chervil soup.
- France – roast Leg of Lamb.
- Finland – deser mämmi,a long-baked dessert made of water, rye flour, malt, molasses, a little salt and ground orange peel.
- Great Britain – hot cross buns, leavened rolls served hot, with a characteristic cross decoration. Raisins and candied orange peel are often added to the buns.
- Italy – Colomba Di Pasqua is an aromatic Italian dove-shaped cake. Of course in Italy, during Easter, there must be pizza, although the traditional, Easter pizza, i.e. Pizza Chena, looks more like stuffed bread than the pizza that is known and loved all over the world.
- Russia – pashka (pascha), a delicate, cottage cheese dessert with a lot of dried fruit.
- Argentina – rosca de Pascua, that is, a special bread decorated with sweets and candied fruit.
- Brasil – paçoca de amendoim,it is a simple sweet and salty dessert made of ground peanuts, sugar and salt.
Get to know languages and Easter in other countries
If you want to learn about Easter customs and culture from the inside out, you need languages. Only by exploring traditional dishes in their place of origin, learning the stories at the Easter table, will you be able to say that you have really got to know the taste of Easter in other countries.
The first step in mastering a foreign language is selecting an effective learning method. By choosing one of the SuperMemo courses, you can be sure that it will be easier for you to learn new vocabulary, because the courses are based on the spaced repetition system. Their frequency is selected individually by algorithm, in accordance with the predispositions of each student. This, of course, increases your learning efficiency and leads to faster learning of the basics, as well as more advanced language skills.
However, before you go on an Easter trip around the world, it is worth stocking up on words that will surely be useful during this escapade. Let’s start with Easter in Spain and Spanish words related to this holiday:
- la Pascua – Easter,
- el Domingo de Ramos – Palm sunday,
- Conejo de Pascua – Easter bunny,
- El huevo de Pascua – Easter egg.
If you’re in Germany during Easter, it is worth knowing the following words:
- das Ostern – Easter,
- das Osterfrühstück – Easter breakfast,
- geweihtes Ostermahl – blessed food,
- das Osterlamm – Easter lamb.
Finally, a few examples of French words related to Easter:
- Pâques – Easter,
- l’œuf de Pâques – Easter egg,
- le lapin de Pâques – Easter bunny,
- Joyeuses Pâques! – Happy Easter!
However, remember to learn languages every day, not only occasionally, then you will certainly have frequent occasions to celebrate… progress in learning.