How different countries and cultures celebrate
When I think about Easter, aside from the religious significance, I think about beginnings and renewal. The fact that Easter arrives in spring reminds us of the circle of life – how new life springs up from loss each year.
Around the world, as it turns out, Easter is celebrated in a variety of ways – none of which involve egg hunts, jelly beans or the Easter Bunny. Here are seven different Easter traditions from around the world, each one more distinctive than the next.
On Easter Sunday and Monday, countries in northwestern Europe light Easter Fires – large bonfires. Based on the belief that Easter is a time when spring overtakes winter, the fires are a symbol of eliminating the darkness of winter. Today the Easter Fire is more about community and bringing people together in celebration.
Holy Week in Haiti
Similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Haiti celebrates Holy Week with parades, colorful costumes and their traditional “rara” music. The Haitians combine Catholic and Voodoo traditions to honor the spirits.
Carrying a Cross
Believed to be the place where Jesus was crucified, Christians celebrate Good Friday by carrying a cross and walking the same path that Jesus did.
In Verges, Spain, they perform “La Dansa de la mort” – the death dance. Everyone dresses in skeleton costumes and walks through the streets, starting at midnight and lasting into the early morning.
In Haux, France, a giant omelette is served in the main square of the town. The omelet uses more than 15,000 eggs and feeds up to 10,000 people. This is based on the story of Napoleon and his army eating omelets while traveling through this small town. Since Napoleon liked his omelet so much, he called for the townspeople to collect all their eggs and make an omelet for his army the following day.
In Corfu, Greece, people throw pots and pans out of their windows on Holy Saturday. Some say the throwing of the pots is a symbol of welcoming spring, of the abundance of crops to come in the new pots.
The local people celebrate Good Friday by flying kites, which are an important part of Bermuda culture. Using bright colors and creative designs, people go to Horseshoe Bay Beach to fly their homemade kites. The tradition is said to have begun when a local teacher from the British Army had difficulty explaining Christ’s ascension to Heaven to his Sunday school class. He made a kite, traditionally shaped like a cross, to illustrate the Ascension.
Know of other cultural traditions to celebrate Easter? Share more fun and interesting traditions in the comments!