Easter Celebration Around The World
Here are a wide variety of festivities to celebrate one of the most holy days in the religious year, Jesus Christ's death on the cross and his resurrection.
Traditional Easter Celebration in Hungary
Photo: Laszlo Balogh
Will and Guy have found out that the locals from the village of Holloko, northeast Hungary, [which is incidentally a World Heritage site] celebrate Easter with the traditional "watering of the girls".
This, apparently is a fertility ritual rooted in Hungarian tribes' pre-Christian past, going as far back as the second century after Christ.
In England, the festivities of Easter begin with Lent, which falls on Ash Wednesday, and lasts for 40 days.
Easter celebration in England is usually a low-key affair, as people prefer religious observations as compared to joyous merriment. Easter is an occasion for sober worship and quiet family gatherings.
However, we are not completely without soul and in many parts of England, professional troupes of dancers perform Morris Dances on Easter Sunday. These troupes of dancers, almost exclusively male, perform old spring dances to frighten away the evil spirits of winter.
These Morris Dancers, seen in the picture, dress themselves in smart white trousers, [some groups wear black] red sashes, and straw hats, with lots of flowers and streamers. Red and green ribbons and little bells are tied onto the dancers, to complete the look. Musical accompaniment is essential also, often in the shape of an accordion or fiddles. [violins]
English villages, with their quaint charm, provide the perfect backdrop for witnessing traditional Easter traditions of England. During the ceremonious occasion of Easter, the village church would be bedecked with fresh flowers. Traditional Easter egg hunts are organized in the villages, wherein the Easter Bunny hides Easter eggs for the local children to find.
Tithe village bakery would offer fragrant hot cross buns, warm from the oven, and Simnel cakes, with homemade "*marzipan".
In many towns across the UK, pancake races have been held on Shrove Tuesday, some date back 500 years or more. These have recently been stopped as health and Safety Officers have gone mad and banned the races for safety reasons.
This cartoon sums up Will and Guy's feelings about the bans.
Parades are traditional in some US cities. Atlantic City's 140-year-old parade is the oldest, and the promenade on New York's Fifth Avenue, immortalized in Irving Berlin's song, "Easter Parade," is perhaps the best known.
The annual White House Easter Egg Roll takes place in the nation's capital city on Easter Monday.
Easter in Mexico is more of a solemn remembrance of Christ's death than an egg-hunt or a chocolate frenzy.
Easter and related holidays are colourful and lively in Mexico, where children actually break eggs over each other's heads in the week before Lent begins. Fortunately, these eggs are filled with small pieces of paper rather than raw egg.
Holy Saturday - 'Sabado de Gloria': In some places there is a custom of burning Judas in effigy because of his betrayal of Jesus, now this has become a festive occasion. Cardboard or paper mache figures are constructed, sometimes with firecrackers attached, and then burned. Sometimes the figures are made to represent political figures.
Easter Sunday - 'Domingo de Pascua' - You won't come across any mention of the Easter Bunny or chocolate eggs on Easter Sunday in Mexico. This is generally a day when people go to Mass and celebrate quietly with their families, though in some places there are festivities with fireworks.
Poland is a Catholic country and attending Mass is an important part of the Easter celebration so Will and Guy's Polish friend, Mateusz, tells them.
Polish Easter Eggs
Easter Sunday - Wielka Niedziela
On Easter morning, a special Resurrection Mass is celebrated in every church in Poland. At this Mass, a procession of priests, altar boys and the people circles the church three times while the church bells peal and the organ is played for the first time since they had been silenced on Good Friday. Following the Mass, people return home to eat the food blessed the day before.
The Easter table will be covered with a white tablecloth. On the middle of the table in most homes housewife will put coloured eggs, cold meats, coils of sausages, ham, yeast cakes, pound cakes, poppy-seed cakes, and a lamb made of sugar. Polish Easter Soup called Zurek or White Barscz is often served at the Easter meal, garnished with the hard-boiled eggs and sausage.
There is also tradition to share blessed eggs with the members of the family and wish each other good health, happiness for the rest of the year.
In Bulgaria, people don't hide their eggs: apparently they have egg fights! Whoever comes out of the game with an unbroken egg is the winner and assumed to be the most successful member of the family in the coming year.
Easter in Bulgaria is a strongly celebrated holiday. Red, the predominant colour of Bulgarian Easter eggs, is a part of pagan mysticism that pervades Bulgarian culture even today.
Orthodox priests consecrated traditional red-dyed eggs during a service in the town of Varna, Bulgaria. Red Easter eggs are baked into an Easter loaf, may be blessed at the church, or may be cracked against each other to see who will be the most successful, healthy, or happy during the following year.
Photo: Steven Miric
Germany and Easter
Known as Ostern in German speaking countries of Austria, Germany and Switzerland, it is important to Catholics and Protestants alike.
Easter customs can be traced back to pre-Christian, pagan rites that were related to the beginning of Spring and fertility, symbolized by daffodils, rabbits and eggs.
The art of decorating hollowed out eggs, Easter eggs or Ausgeblasene Eier, is an Austrian and German tradition.
Nowadays, the Satzvey Castle, which is a beautiful, moated castle in Germany, has an Easter market that displays elaborately decorated eggs along with spring inspired arts and crafts.
Saxony holds a traditional Easter parade with 250 horsemen and traditional costumes.
The town centres in Southern Germany decorate their fountains for two weeks starting on Good Friday and Northern Germany celebrates by burning big piles of logs, sometimes with a witch puppet to signify the end of Winter. Beer, hot punch and grilled sausages are served.
In Franconian Switzerland to Northern Bavaria, the city fountains are decorated with real, blown eggs.
Written by Caroline Baker on the Chinese Culture Site.
Easter is an International holiday that is celebrated in China as well. Even beyond the religious implications, Easter has many significances in the Chinese culture.
For many, Easter is a mark of the coming of spring. While ancient Chinese generally celebrate the coming of spring with Chinese New Year, the passing of the spring equinox is yet another reason to celebrate.
The three most common symbols that are associated with Easter in the West are: the Easter egg, rabbits, and baby chicks. All hold significance in the Chinese culture as well. In one of the creation stories that comes to us from ancient China, the world was created from an egg of chaos. Rabbits and chicks can be seen in many pieces of art, often there to symbolize life and birth.
From olden times, the art of painting on eggs has been part of the Chinese culture. Eggs would be drained and then fine line art depicting women, sceneries, and other images of beauty would grace the exterior. Jade and wood would be smoothed and carved into eggs to symbolize the "dragon egg". All these would be given as gifts in wishes of growth and many children.
But even beyond the commercialized aspects of Easter today, Chinese also celebrate the Christian rising of Christ. Perhaps even before the United States became known as the melting pot of cultures and religions, China held many, if not all, the known religions of the world. Much of these other religions entered China by way of the Silk Road and trade with other countries.
Thus, from very early on, Christianity has been part of the Chinese Culture, as many other religions of the world.
In order to wish someone a "Happy Easter" in Chinese, one of the ways you might say it is: fu huo jie kuai le. Literally translated it means "happy festival for the sign life".
Easter in India
Easter is one of the most significant festivals in the Christian calendar and marks the beginning of the spring season. The occasion is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm throughout the world. The holiday commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
India is a land of cultural diversity; hence every festival is celebrated with great pomp and show. Although Christians constitute a meagre 3% of the total population in India, the festive spirit of Easter is no less.
Being multi-ethnic, the country respects and honours every religion and celebrates Easter with the same religious solemnization as any other festival. A spring time festival, the celebrations start with Lent and end with Easter Sunday.
Easter eggs and Easter bunnies form the major attractions during Easter. Hence, these elements are largely sold in shops and people exchange these items with one another as gifts.
Chocolate cakes, flowers and colourful lanterns are also presented as gifts to people. Wonderful carnivals throng at the beach state of India, Goa, where various street plays, songs and dances are staged.
An Indonesian Easter Celebration
Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world yet it also has a large Christian population [approx. 8 million] and therefore Good Friday and Easter Sunday are National public holidays.
Occasionally plays, representing the crucifixion, are shown.
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