Easter is one of the oldest holidays in the world. It is celebrated since around the year 1400 BC. It has different connotations, depending on each area where this celebration is held. This is where the diversity of Easter traditions around the world comes from. Nonetheless, there are 3 main implications for this holiday:
- The Christian Easter – Jesus Christ’s resurrection
- The Jewish Easter – Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt
- The pagan Easter (old polytheist religions) – nature resurrection and the beginning of the spring
Common Easter traditions around the world
Despite the fact that there are a lot of specific Easter traditions, there are also 2 that are especially relevant all around the world.
- The Easter eggs
Many people associate the Easter with eggs. Chocolate eggs, red eggs, multicolor eggs, small or big, many people eat eggs during this holiday. The egg is a pagan symbol and has many references in ancient civilizations. Few examples below:
- The ancient Druids wore an egg as a sacred symbol of their order;
- Some of the oldest Chinese sacred feasts use dyed or colored eggs;
- In northern Europe, during the Viking’s period, eggs were colored and used as symbols of the goddess of spring;
- Ancient Egyptians were associating the egg with the sun – “golden egg”.
2. The Easter bunny
The bunny has been and still is in many cultures the symbol of fertility. It used to be associated with the idea of periodicity, both lunar and human, and the start of a new life. Today the Eastern Bunny brings gifts, presents, and red or chocolate eggs to the kids. It is like a Santa Claus for Easter.
Custom Easter traditions around the world
People from this country take Easter to the extreme. Difficult to believe processions are held in major cities on Good Friday. People are marching through the city carrying huge wooden crosses, symbolizing Jesus’s path to the hill where He was crucified. Most people flagellate themselves and some are even willingly crucified.
Easter is very important in Germany. Kids have around 3 weeks vacation and employees don’t work on Good Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. One of the most famous traditions is held in the northern part of the country where huge fires are lit. They are supposed to burn all winter signs and bad omens. A similar tradition exists in Holland as well.
The Orthodox church of Russia has its own special way of celebrating the Easter. Saturday evening the doors of all churches are closed until midnight. The people wait in front of the church till the priests come out shouting “Jesus has resurrected” and reply with “He really resurrected”. Women cook sponge cakes and paint the eggs with red color and bring them to the church to be blessed by the priests.
The Eastern celebrations in Romania are somehow similar to the ones in Russia (both countries having an Orthodox majority). In addition, the Romanians have something special when it comes to painting the Easter eggs. The women spend weeks before Easter painting the eggs in the most spectacular forms you ever were seen. The level of details is truly amazing. They even have sculptures made in egg shells. This is a tradition handed over from mother to daughter, generation after generation.
The Holy Grave is the main attraction point in Israel. Each year, on the Orthodox Easter, the grave is sealed and guarded by the Israeli army. No person or fire source is allowed in. Saturday evening, around midnight the Patriarch (somehow the equivalent of the Catholic Pope) alone, enters the grave with nothing on him except some candles. These get fire instantly, out of nowhere, and without being touch by anyone. Due to this event, people call the fire the Holy Light, brought by the Holy Spirit. Some say that this is the proof that the Orthodox religion is the true one, while for others this seems like a well-planned scam.
Even in Hawaii people are celebrating this holiday. Here people believed in the past that the world was created from a giant egg. Its yolk is actually the sun today. The egg broke and the scattered small pieces actually formed the islands of Hawaii.
First of all in Australia, the Easter marks the end of the summer and not the beginning of the spring. Second of all, in their tradition, the Easter Bunny is replaced by a kangaroo. Bilby the Kangaroo is the character who brings joy and happiness to the kids.
Therefore, what do you think about these Easter traditions around the world? Do you have some special practices in your region/country? Let us know in the comment area. Thanks!