News & Stories/2020

Easter Traditions Around the World


Brazil is home to the largest amount of Catholics in the world, hence why Easter is one of their biggest holidays. The Easter season kicks off with the world famous Rio Carnival. When you think of a carnival the first thing that springs to most people’s minds is parades and dancing, however the word derives from “carnelevare” that literally means “removal of meat,” referencing to the beginning of Lent and the abstinence from eating meat that is part of the Brazilian Catholic tradition for Easter. For this reason Brazilians will indulge in alcohol, fun and all types of food before Lent, when people aren’t allowed to have parties, eat meat or sweets.


The Easter celebrations in Italy are diverse and range from city to city. On Good Friday religious parades and celebrations are held in many towns and cities nationwide and usually a statue of Jesus is carried in street processions. On Easter Sunday, mass is held in St. Peter’s Square in Rome and is led by Pope Francis I. On Easter Monday some cities hold dances, free concerts and unusual games often involving eggs.


Launching hard-boiled eggs down a grassy hill is a centuries-old English tradition that has since been successfully exported across the Atlantic. For 130 years, the White House has hosted the Easter Egg Roll on its South Lawn. The main activity involves rolling a coloured hard-boiled egg with a large serving spoon, but now the event boasts many more amusements, like musical groups, an egg hunt, sports and crafts.


France has a strong Catholic history and celebrates Easter with great enthusiasm. The Easter bunny isn’t an Easter symbol in France and instead the primary Easter symbols are actually fish and bells. The French Easter fish is called Poissons d'Avril or “April Fish” who according to tradition came to visit the children on April first. Another unusual tradition happens every year on Easter Monday, in the town of Bessieres in Southwestern France. Around 10,000 people gather to make a giant omelette, made with 15,000 fresh eggs, a four-meter pan and 40 cooks.  


Easter in Sweden sounds more like Halloween to me. On either the Thursday or Saturday before Easter children dress up as Easter witches wearing long skirts and headscarves and go from house to house in their neighbourhoods trading paintings and drawings in the hope of receiving sweets. The tradition is said to come from the old belief that witches would fly to a German mountain the Thursday before Easter to Cavort with Satan. On their way back, Swedes would light fires to scare them away, a practice honoured today by the bonfires and fireworks across the land in the days leading up to Sunday.

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