Easter, which celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, is Christianity’s most important holiday. It’s also linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. Easter customs vary across the Christian world, and include sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the church, and decorating Easter eggs, a symbol of the empty tomb. Additional customs that have become associated with Easter and are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians include traditional Easter games, egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, and Easter parades. There are also various traditional Easter foods that vary regionally.
Easter celebrated Around the World:
Argentina: Easter is quite a big event in Argentina and various traditions are carried out to mark the occasion. Holy Week continues the style of fasting introduced by Lent where all meat is avoided apart from fish. As such, traditional dishes that normally include meat are replaced by seafood and fish. Good Friday is a rather somber event when people attend their local Christian parishes to observe the Stations of the Cross or Via Crucis where Jesus is depicted during his final hours, carrying the Cross to his crucifixion. As is common to most Christian denominations, the Saturday before Easter is quiet in order to mark the mourning associated with the crucifixion and Sunday sees the start of celebrations.
Greece: Mythology to Christianity, Greek religious practices have always been carried out with great zeal. The Greek Orthodox Church follows the Byzantine calendar, so its Easter is celebrated on a different date, which is determined by the moon’s cycle. In Greece, it is the most sacred holiday of the year marked by a full week of celebration. This year’s Orthodox Easter Sunday takes place on April 15.
In Athens, Good Friday marks the first main event where a replica of Christ’s tomb is carried through town. The most sacred of Easter events takes place the following day when people flock to the churches at midnight carrying unlit candles for the declaration of Christ’s resurrection in saying “Christos Anesti” (Christ is risen!) to which the reply is “Alithos Anesti” (He is risen indeed!). Following this announcement, they light their candles from the Holy Flame taken from Christ’s nativity cave in Jerusalem and walk through town enjoying a glorious display of fireworks, bells, and jubilation.
Easter Sunday is a day of food and more fun. After an arduous 40-day fast, the menu comprises spit-fire roast lamb and lots of colored eggs. In the Orthodox tradition, you knock eggs with your neighbor attempting to crack theirs to bring yourself good fortune.
Scotland: Easter in Scotland is a mostly laid-back event. The Scots do the traditional things commonly associated with Easter like attending mass and having a big meal, but they also add a bit of fun, particularly for the kids. Easter fun here is all about eggs. After they’re boiled and painted in all kinds of colors and designs, they’re taken to the park hills for rolling on Easter Sunday. While it may just sound like playtime for the kids, the event is very symbolic as it is carried out to represent the rolling away of stones on Jesus’ tomb thereby assisting in His resurrection.
Spain: In Spain, Easter is also the most important Christian event. Celebrated en mass throughout the country, Easter Week begins with Domingo de Ramas (Palm Sunday) and ends with Lunes de Pascua (Easter Monday). The country is marked by a carnival atmosphere throughout, with trumpets and drums.
Seville in Andalucia is the most famed Spanish region for Easter celebrations. It has 52 different religious brotherhoods whose members parade through the streets for the entire Holy Week manifesting the crucifixion. Processions continue for almost 24 hours culminating in the jubilation of the resurrection which is observed by floats covered in flowers, dancing in the streets and traditional sweet cakes.
Sweden: Easter in Sweden is about fun, food and festivity. It is especially good for family breaks as many of the Easter activities involve children.
On Easter Sunday, food takes center stage where, in typically Nordic fashion, the feast comprises mostly fish. Edibles include different kinds of herring, a selection of smoked salmon, a hint of roast ham and various cheeses. Of course, the main attraction are eggs which are exchanged and later used in a game where participants roll them down roofing tiles to see which egg can go the furthest without breaking.