Like all great things in life, Easter traditions have been influenced by countless voices and perspectives over the years. Growing up in a non-religious family, Easter has always been about coming together to enjoy an amazing homemade meal paired with heaps of chocolate bunnies and egg hunts. For some friends, their own traditions include being a part of a morning sermon at their local church before enjoying brunch with their families.
But how do celebrations differ around the world? Is the Easter Bunny an international icon? There’s no one-size fits all approach to this traditional Christian holiday. Each country does Easter a little different, but you’ll find there are still common practices that have made their way across the globe.
Travel to: Easter Tours
Easter around the world: Best places to visit
1. The United States
One of the best known Easter traditions in US takes place in Washington, D.C. For over 100 years the White House has hosted the annual Easter Egg Roll on its South Lawn which includes children who have been invited to the President’s home to participate in rolling coloured hard-boiled eggs across the lawn in a race to the finish.
The event has grown over the years into a bigger celebration featuring live music, egg hunts, games and crafts. Of course, visits from the Easter Bunny happen all over, with children waking up to hidden chocolate eggs around their home. Passion plays that tell the story of Jesus Christ are also done around the country.
Travel to: USA
2. The United Kingdom
Easter traditions have evolved throughout the centuries to include everything from pancake races to the Queen washing the feet of the poor as Jesus reportedly did before the Last Supper. English Easter traditions now include the Queen distributing pursues of money rather than cleaning the feet of the poor, referred to as Maundy Thursday.
Travel to: England
It’s held at Westminster Abbey in London, every other year with the Queen travelling to different cathedrals across the country to carry out this tradition. Decorating Easter Eggs is also common practice in the UK and similar to the US, the English will also hold egg-rolling competitions across the country.
Easter in Mexico is a big celebration as the festivities carry over two weeks and include two different festivals. Semana Santa is held from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday and Pascua is held from Easter Sunday to the following Saturday, with the first of the two being the most commonly celebrated.
People will purchase detailed woven palms outside churches to carry with them to various services around town before hanging them on their doors to ward off evil. Passion Plays are also a big deal in Mexico and it’s considered an incredible honour to play Jesus. Following Easter Sunday, the party really gets started with town squares opening food stalls and putting on carnivals.
Easter is one of the most popular holidays in Germany with preparations being made weeks in advance. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Germany during Easter you’ll see beautiful Easter trees springing up everywhere, decorated by colourful eggs strewn across twigs and brushes.
Many of the more well-known Easter traditions actually began in Germany, including the custom of painting hard-boiled eggs and even the Easter bunny, which is found in German literature from as early as the 16th century. On the Saturday before Easter Sunday, people head out to an open-air Easter market where everything from handcrafted Easter eggs to arts and crafts can be purchased from local vendors.
The Balkan Peninsula’s nation of Greece knows how to throw an Easter party like no other. Grecian housewives prepare for the festivities by preparing traditional Easter brioche, tsoureki and dying eggs red as a symbol of rebirth.
On Good Friday, devout Christians will fast all day long before joining the procession of people reciting funeral psalms as they make their way through the city’s streets. The following evening, the public will gather in church as white candles are distributed amongst the crowd.
At midnight, everyone begins to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ by banging on drums and watching an impressive display of fireworks. Easter Sunday marks the end of a 40 day fast for the devout Christians and a large feast of lamb and goat is shared amongst the locals who eat, drink and celebrate late into the night.
See Also: Mother’s Day Around the World
See Also: Mother’s Day Around the World