Easter is arguably the most important event in the Christian calendar. The time of year has also come to symbolise new life and the beginning of spring for those who are not Christian, making it a widely celebrated event. While in Britain we enjoy the bank holidays, Easter egg hunts, family lunches and hot cross buns, the holiday is celebrated in very different ways across the world.
Easter in Finland could easily be mistaken for Halloween in the UK. On the Sunday before Easter, small children dress up as witches, knocking from door to door and offering willow twigs which have been decorated with feathers as a blessing to drive away evil spirits. In exchange, they are given sweet treats to enjoy.
Such as in Ivoti where cats and dogs are painted blue and pink to remind children that Easter is on its way
Brazil has one of the world’s largest Catholic populations and while chocolate Easter eggs are popular, there is a strong religious aspect to the celebration. During Holy Week, there are services across the country and many households will avoid eating meat on Good Friday. There are some more unusual regional traditions too, such as in Ivoti where cats and dogs are painted blue and pink to remind children that Easter is on its way. In Ouro Preto, the streets are decorated with a colourful carpet of flowers, sand and sawdust on the night before Easter.
If you’re a vegan, then this is definitely not the Easter destination for you! In this small village on Easter Monday, a whopping 15,000 eggs are used to make a giant omelette that everyone shares. The diameter of the pan is four metres and 50 volunteers make the omelette which is expected to feed approximately 10,000 people who visit to witness the event. The origin of this tradition is said to be that when Napoleon Bonaparte and his soldiers stayed nearby, he ate an omelette which he enjoyed so much that he asked for a massive version to be cooked for all his soldiers.
Easter isn’t just about food, Ghana has some unique Easter celebrations. In Kwahu, there is a paragliding festival which attracts those interested in the extreme sport from all around the world. Meanwhile, in Accra, the capital city, there is an annual stand up comedy event called the Easter Comedy.
There are religious processions which can last up to 14 hours
Easter in Spain is more of a solemn and serious event. Throughout the country, there are religious processions which can last up to 14 hours. Religious brotherhoods, mourning women in black and floats and artwork depicting the Virgin Mary, Jesus and the The Last Supper proceed through the streets in silence. However, there is a complete change in atmosphere on Easter Sunday. The sombre processions are replaced by joyful parades, music is played and it is a time for celebration.
Just like in Britain, eggs play a big role in Easter in Germany. The Easter egg hunt is an Easter Sunday tradition and an Easter bouquet decorated with hanging painted eggs is put up on Holy Thursday. Family meals are important too, but rather than a roast lamb lunch they have big brunch with pastries and, of course, boiled eggs. Coming together is important, and the Easter Bonfire on the night before Easter Sunday is an especially important event in many towns in Northern Germany where everyone gets together to celebrate.
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