For foreign travellers or expatriates, it is always very interesting to observe or participate in the celebrations of your country of destination or adoption in order to better understand its culture. … Customs and traditions remain specific to each country. For Easter what do other countries do? It’s time to discover customs around the world!
Easter nest hunting
In Germany, Switzerland and many other countries, children and even some adults hunt for Easter nests. What is an Easter nest hunt? These are baskets or boxes filled with bunnies or chocolate eggs, candy and toys, supposedly hidden by the Easter Bunny himself.
Easter is a holiday associated with pilgrimage or procession traditions in many countries. These processions can take many forms. For example, in the Philippines, children are dressed as angels and a procession of men behind Christ joins a procession of women behind a statue of the Virgin Mary. In Latin America and South America (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela), there are colorful and dancing traditions.
The processions of Popoyan, Colombia
The Holy Week processions of Popoyan are one of the oldest traditions in Colombia. They were promoted to the rank of Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2009. They last 5 days until Easter. This Catholic religious event celebrates Mary, Jesus, the Cross, the Entombment and the Resurrection, making for one procession per evening.
Easter Bunny, USA
This is the famous Easter Bunny who brings chocolates to children (and adults…). On Easter morning, a very original parade is held in New York. Women and men gather on 5th Avenue to parade in eccentric hats.
Defying traditions, Australia
In the land of kangaroos, the rabbit is seen as a moron. This animal is considered a plague because it harms the environment. For a few years now, it has been increasingly replaced by the bilby, a small marsupial of the Australian desert. With its big ears, it has nothing to envy to the rabbit and it is now the one who hides the eggs in the garden before the traditional hunt.
Making carpets in Guatemala
At Easter, Guatemalans don’t walk on a little cloud but on carpets of flowers. In Guatemala, Holy Week is sacred and is celebrated in many ways throughout the country. But it is in Antigua that they are the most divine. In the beautiful colonial city, during the Easter period, the inhabitants make beautiful multicolored carpets from sawdust, fresh flowers and even fruit.
Flying clay pots, Greece
A tradition that dates back to the 16th century. On Easter Saturday, at precisely 11 am, the inhabitants of the Greek island of Corfu throw clay pots from their balconies. As for the menu: there are eggs and lamb as well as a tripe soup in which the heart and lungs of the Easter lamb are cooked. The tables are adorned with “Tsoureki”, a beautiful braided bun, often garnished with hard-boiled eggs whose shells are painted red. The Greek Easter is particularly important with processions sometimes monumental as in the city of Corfu which welcomes more tourists often Greek than during the busiest months of August.
The water battles, Poland
The Polish celebrate Smigus Dyngus (Wet Monday), the water festivities taking place on Easter Monday. The event echoes the baptism of a former ruler and thus, the country’s conversion to Catholicism. Water being a symbol of life, one sprinkles oneself with friends and family to purify oneself.
The Devils of El Salvador
In El Salvador, Easter is celebrated according to traditions inherited from both Christianity and indigenous rites. Men dressed as devils, called “Talcigüines”, walk the streets of the cities, whipping those who wish to participate in the event. Behind this celebration lies a simple meaning: that of the struggle of good against evil, of Jesus against the Devil. At the end of the ritual, the devils fall to the ground, surrendering to Jesus. It is customary for them to remain on the ground for a long time, under the midday sun.
The distribution of pretzels and the lovers’ egg, Luxembourg
Luxembourgers celebrate Pretzel Sunday, Bretzelsonnden, which takes place on the third Sunday of Lent. The tradition of Easter is that on Pretzel Sunday, the man offers this pastry to the woman of his heart. If she accepts, the man can visit her on Easter Day to receive an egg in return.
Swedish Easter or Halloween?
In Sweden, children dress up as witches. They paint their faces, carry a broom and go knocking on neighbors’ doors to fill their bags with candy and chocolates, just like American children do on Halloween.
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