Easter Sunday is soon approaching and we wanted to explain to you the story behind it. Not only will we talk about the tradition of painting eggs but also about the different kinds of celebrations that take place around the world.
Easter (also called Pasch derived through Latin) celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s the end of the Passion of Christ. The week before Easter is called Holy Week and starts 40 days after Ash Wednesday and it’s very special in the Christian tradition.
People celebrate Easter according to their beliefs and their religious denominations. Christians commemorate Good Friday as the day that Jesus Christ died and Easter Sunday as the day that he was resurrected.
Among the Christian countries that celebrate Easter, we can mention Spain which has a special way of doing it. The Sunday before Easter is Palm Sunday, with the Wednesday before known as Spy Wednesday. The last three days before Easter are Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday (sometimes referred to as Silent Saturday).
Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday respectively commemorate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, and the Crucifixion. On Palm Sunday, most people go to mass in the morning. Children bring palm leaves to be blessed by the priest.
Many towns and cities in Spain celebrate Easter with processions through the streets. Floats called ‘tronos or pasos’ (depending on the city) are carried through the street. Each float has incredibly decorated figures representing part of the Easter story. The floats and statues are often covered in gold, silver, and fine cloths. They are also decorated with lots of fresh flowers. Forty or fifty people carry each trono on their shoulders on the procession, which can sometimes last between four to eight hours.
In southern Spain, the processions are often accompanied by drums and the most famous and biggest processions are held in Seville. Each one is organized by ‘Cofradias’, or ‘The Brotherhoods’ who are part of each church from the city.
In other countries like Ireland, Poland, Latvia, Italy, Croatia and the USA, Easter eggs are the tradition for this time. In Germany, they hang the eggs on trees and in Latvia they use flowers and seeds to decorate the eggs.
The custom of the Easter egg may have existed in the early Christian community of Mesopotamia, who stained eggs red in memory of the blood of Christ. In later traditions, the egg is also a symbol of the empty tomb. The modern custom is to substitute real eggs with ones made from chocolate, or plastic eggs filled with candy such as jellybeans. In Ireland, you can buy all these eggs in supermarkets like Tesco, Lidl or Dunnes Stores.
The Easter Bunny is a popular legendary Easter gift-giving character. This character became a symbol of fertility. Romans believed that “All life comes from an egg” and Christians consider eggs to be the seeds of the life. On Easter Sunday, many children wake up to find that the Easter Bunny has left them baskets of candy. He has also hidden the eggs that they decorated earlier that week. Children then hunt for the eggs all around the house. Neighborhoods and organizations hold Easter egg hunts, and the child who finds the most eggs wins a prize.
Now you know most of the Easter traditions around the world so the fun is up to you. If you’re doing an internship, working as an au pair or learning English abroad, don’t forget to celebrate Easter and enjoy all the local traditions. Have you ever celebrated Easter’s time in another country? If the answer is no, check our programmes
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