Throughout the world, different festivities are taking place to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. If you are Catholic, you know all about the upcoming holiday, and you have followed along with the rules of Lent: fasting for 40 days.
For most people, however, Easter is just another holiday where you meet up with your family and eat some good food.
In Australia, Easter is celebrated with eggs, church services and public holidays. Most Australians enjoy Easter holidays, since Easter always falls at the end of the Australian summer.
In Sydney, there is usually an annual “Royal Easter Show” which has displays of farm animals, parades, rides, fireworks and food.
The “Bilby” is usually preferred over the rabbit as an Easter symbol, since the rabbit has destroyed land, crops, vegetation and native Australian species.
In Germany, Easter begins with covering the cross on Good Friday and eating fish dishes. On the Saturday, a mass is usually held that continues on until Sunday morning.
Sunday is Family Day with a special Easter lunch, colored eggs and a lamb-cake. Eggs and cookies are also hidden throughout the garden for the kids to find.
When decorating eggs in Germany, the eggs aren’t always cooked. Instead, the contents are removed by piercing the end of each egg with a needle and then blowing into the hole. These eggs are later dyed and hung from shrubs and trees during Easter Week.
Another German tradition is the Easter Fire, where all the remaining Christmas trees are collected onto a pile and burned, so as to clean away the last signs of winter.
Bulgaria offers a somewhat different tradition. Bulgarians do not hide eggs, instead they throw them at each other. Whoever comes out of the game with their egg unbroken is the winner, and the winner will be the most successful person in the family for the next year.
In Greece, the eggs honor the blood of Christ, and crimson eggs are usually exchanged. In the Roman empire people would paint eggs in bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring, and these eggs represented fertility and good luck.
In Romania the most important Christian holiday is the day of Jesus’ resurrection. The people clean their houses, wear new clothes and take a ritual bath before going to church. These things are supposed to mark a new beginning.
To celebrate that Lent is over, there is a festive atmosphere with tables filled with all sorts of dishes and brightened up with painted eggs.
Every Romanian dresses up in their national costume, and with lit candles in their hands they gather around the churches at midnight uttering the words “Jesus Christ has risen from the dead.”
In Sweden, Easter starts with Palm Sunday, celebrating Christ’s triumphant entry in to Jerusalem. There are certain superstitions attached to Easter. People believed that witches were especially active and their black magic especially powerful during this week.
The Thursday before Easter, they were thought to fly off on brooms to consort with the devil at some place, returning the following Saturday.
On Easter Saturday, children dress up as witches and hags to pay a visit to their neighbors, hoping for a sweet or a coin in return. The children usually delivers an Easter letter, wishing their neighbors a happy Easter.
In Mexico, Easter is a combination of Semana Santa, which is from Palm Sunday to Easter Saturday, and Pascua, which is from Resurrection Sunday until the following Saturday. The two celebrate together Jesus’ last days of life and then his resurrection. They also celebrate the release from the sacrifices of Lent.
To learn how to say “Happy Easter” in different languages see right column.