Easter is celebrated across the globe in varying styles. Each region has its own story, style and tradition associated with the festival. Easter is a Christian holiday that celebrates resurrection of Christ. According to the New Testament, the holiday concludes the “Passion of Christ,” a series of events and celebrations that begins with Lent- a 40 day period of fasting, prayer and sacrifice- and ends with Holy week, that includes Holy Thursday ( celebration of Christ’s Last Supper with his 12 apostles), Good Friday( on which Christ was crucified) and Easter Sunday.
Many traditions associated with Easter even before the advent of Christianity.
This Easter, celebrate it traditionally or explore varying celebrations across the world. Here is how the world is celebrating Easter across the globe.
In Goa, the festival is celebrated, traditional style. The “Way of the Cross” is a ceremony where devout Christians reenact Christ’s crucifixion through prayer. A procession is taken from the church to streets with hundreds of people in attendance, carrying a wooden cross, and visiting homes of fellow brethren to bless them. Goa has very different feels this time of the year, with choir singing, street plays and dancing, reminding one of Morality play traditions of old England.
Exchanging colourful lanterns and the Holy Cross is also religiously observed in the state. Families come together for meals and children have a gala time with all the baked treats and attractive Easter eggs on Easter Sunday.
Easter in Hungary is celebrated in a very different style. Hungarian men serenade young women by sprinkling either perfume, cologne or water over their heads, followed with a question for a kiss. These liquids are believed to have a cleaning, healing and fertility-inducing effect. Popularly known as locsolás, this is an old custom that used to be a form of courtship.In exchange men are given colourful eggs, chocolate treats or cookies and a shot of ‘pálinka’ (Hungarian fruit brandy).
Celebrating Easter in Seville involves a parade of 52 of their religious brotherhoods coming together to bring to the streets the death and crucifixion of Jesus, as paying homage to the Lord. There are also candle-lit floats of Baroque statues, each telling their own Easter story as well as a marching band.
As legend has it, Napoleon Bonaparte and his fleet feasted on omelets as they made their way through the South of France in the town of Haux. Their satisfaction with the meal led to Napoleon ordering the townspeople to gather all of their eggs and make a giant omelet for his army the next day. Every Easter that followed since, has been celebrated with a giant omelet made with around 4,500 eggs that feeds 1,000 people, and is served up in the town’s main square.
Washington D.C., USA
Every year on the Monday that follows Easter Sunday, The US President hosts the annual “Easter Egg Roll” on the White House lawns. This tradition goes back to early 19 th century, except that in those days children rolled a colourful hard-boiled egg with a large serving spoon.
Brazil has a unique way of observing Easter, Not marked with a lot of celebration, Easter Sunday, there, is observed with a tradition of making dolls out of straws which represent Judas, the apostle who betrayed Christ. These dolls are hung in the streets and some people resort to beating them up. On Easter Saturday, also known as ‘Sábado de Aleluia,’ people across small towns sing out mini versions of Carnival to celebrate the end of the season of Lent.
In Sweden, Easter is celebrated in style similar to Halloween. Children dress up as Easter witches wearing long skirts, colorful headscarves and painted red cheeks. They go from home to home in their neighborhoods trading paintings and drawings in the hopes of getting sweets in return.
Greece is adventurous on Easter every year for its celebratory style.At the dawn of Holy Saturday, people throw pots, pans and other earthenware out of their windows, smashing them on the street. The general belief is that the custom of throwing pots is a sign of welcoming spring. It symbolizes new crops that will be gathered in new pots. Other connotation is that this tradition is derived from the Venetians, who on New Year’s Day used to throw out all of their old items.
Easter is celebrated almost theatrically in Florence. A spacious wagon adorned with different colors is carried through the streets by white oxen until it reaches the cathedral. With the sound of the hymn, Gloria inside the cathedral, the Archbishop sends a dove-shaped rocket into the cart, which ignites a large fireworks display. This is known as ‘Scoppio Del Carro’ (explosion of the cart), this is followed by a parade in medieval costumes.
In Bulgaria, Easter involves egg fights. According to Bulgarian tradition, whoever comes out of the game with an unbroken egg is the winner and is believed to be blessed with success among all in the family in the upcoming year. Another Bulgarian tradition entails that the oldest woman in the family rub faces of children with the first red egg she colours. This symbolizes her wish for health and strength for the family.
Unlike most other countries where people hide Easter eggs for their children to find, in Germany the festive delicacies are used to adorn trees and the streets. On some streets,trees are filled with a multitude of colors due to the dangling eggs.
( with inputs from booking.com)