Easter around the World
We live in a very big and diverse world that isalso sort of small and similar. Looking at the celebrations for Easter aroundthe world, there are some differences, but also lots of similarities betweendifferent countries and how they celebrate. Certainly, not everyone in ourworld is Christian and believes that Jesus was sent from God to absolve thesins of the people; other religions have different traditions based upon theirown beliefs. Some Easter celebrationtraditions from near and far:
Mardi Gras or its English translation, FatTuesday, is the last day of partying and revelry before the solemn Lent seasonin France.
The church bells which normally ring throughoutthe year are silenced from the day before Good Friday until Easter Sunday. Asthe bells toll on Easter morning, people kiss and hug, celebrating Jesus’rebirth.
The children are told that the church bells havegone to Rome to gather eggs for their nests. The eggs are placed in the neststhat the children have made and placed in their rooms, yards, and gardens.
French children play a game where they throw theireggs in the air and catch them. Whoever drops his or her egg has to forfeitsome candy or another of their eggs.
The US celebrates a lot of different ways,depending upon religion. However, by and large traditional formal churchservices are held and everyone wears their finest spring outfits; new springdresses, patent leather shoes, and Easter bonnets are the norm.
Large family get-togethers are often planned forafter church. Easter dinner is typically ham, vegetables, and potatoes.
In New York City and other large cities, Easterparades are held. Often the parade is led by someone carrying a cross or acandle.
The biggest Mardi Gras carnival anywhere in theworld is held in New Orleans each year with jazz bands, parades, and partieseverywhere. Famous Bourbon Street is closed to vehicle traffic and becomes asea of people.
Mexico celebrates Easter as a combination Semana Santa or Holy Week, and Pascua. HolyWeek starts on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Saturday. Pascua begins onResurrection Sunday and lasts until the following Saturday. The firstcelebrates Jesus’ life, the second his resurrection.
Many towns have a Passion Play, which enacts thestory from the Last Supper through the Resurrection. These plays are elaborateand intended to recreate the crucifixion realistically. In fact, actualflogging and real crucifixions have sometimes been included in some communities.
There are parades every day of the last week inLent. On Good Friday, the parade goes through the darkened streets in earlymorning while drums beat and church bells ring very slowly. Large statues ofJesus and his mother are carried and people watch the parade in sadness. Soon,Easter Sunday makes everyone happy again.
The Coptic Church in Egypt oversees a 55 day Lentperiod, during which no fish, eggs, milk, or meat are eaten. The fast getsstricter as the time goes on, but by Holy Week the people are eating mostlybeans and vegetables.
Palm Sunday church service is decorated withspring flowers and palm branches that have been blessed in holy water. Thechildren are given the branches and keep them for the entire year.
Church is a daily must during Holy Week, and themain Easter service takes place late Saturday night and lasts until 3:00 or4:00 on Easter Sunday. Bells are rung at the conclusion and the people paradewith lit candles.
Easter Sunday morning Egyptians spend visitingrelatives and friends, and then have a special dinner in the evening.
The Monday after Easter is a holiday due to anancient festival celebrated on this day in spring. It is spent outdoors inparks or gardens and colored eggs are exchanged.
Italy is home to The Vatican, so it should come asno surprise that much pomp and circumstance surrounds Easter here, especiallyin Rome.
Like in France, the church bells are silent fromthe Thursday before Good Friday until the morning of Easter Sunday. People hugand kiss with the knowledge that Jesus lives.
Children place nests in their yards and gardensaround their home, and when they awaken on Easter Sunday, they look for eggs inthem. Also similar to France, the children of the country believe the bellshave gone to Rome and returned with the eggs.
Italians use olive branches in place of palmbranches in their services. The service is called Domenica delle Palme, which translates to PalmSunday, and the people take their olive and palm branches to be blessed inchurch. The doors to the church are closed in representation of the gates ofJerusalem. The church’s priests knock at the doors three times, and the peoplefling the gates open in welcome. They enter to joyous music and branch wavingin commemoration of Christ’s triumphant return to Jerusalem. These branches aresometimes spread over fields as anexpression of peace or for good luck.
Chocolate Easter eggs appear to have originated inItaly, and pretzels originally symbolized arms crossed in prayer.
Preceding Lent in Italy is a colorful carnivalwith masquerades, music, and dancing. It starts in January and lasts until AshWednesday, but the final three days are the the most raucous and gay. ShroveTuesday, or Martedi Grasso, is the coup, and pancakes are eaten in abundance.
On Holy Friday, a lot of churches do theceremonial washing of the feet at the altar. Twelve poor men from the parishare chosen to represent the Disciples, and the priest represents Jesus as hebathes their feet.
Easter Sunday is a joyous holiday. After church,people return to their homes to have a dinner made of roasted baby lamb andspecial salad made with colored hard-boiled eggs which have been blessed inchurch.
As you can see, some of the traditions are quitesimilar, and others make our world the big, beautiful and complex place that itis.
This guest post written by Denise Gabbard, who isa writer and online marketing professional, courtesy of her friend Elaine at NonstickCookware Reviews. She can guide you to lifetime cookware that willwork beautifully for Easter and every day.