Easter is a Christian Holiday that celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, on the third day after he was crucified. Easter is celebrated on a Sunday; two days after Good Friday and three days after Maundy Thursday during the season of Lent, which starts from Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday. The holiday is a moveable feast and not fixed according to the civil calendar, it occurs in the spring, during March or April. The Easter Bunny and the Easter Egg Hunts are the most popular ways to celebrate the holiday, and are practiced by Christians and non-Christians alike; although there are also a few Christian sects who don’t observe the holiday. Around the world, Easter is celebrated in different ways and may stand for something other than the resurrection of Christ. Here’s a peek into how the world celebrates Easter:
- France celebrates their own version of Easter by giving eggs (or chocolate) to symbolize the renewal that happens when spring comes. Easter also signals the end of a fasting period, during which eggs may not be eaten, which results in an abundance of it after. The tradition may also have its roots from when Louis XIV gave gold-embellished eggs filled with ‘surprises’ to his followers.
- In Italy, family members exchange Easter eggs containing special gifts inside that are specially made for the occasion. On the morning of Easter Sunday, families usually feast on salami, eggs, a special cheese cake and the traditional colomba cake, filled with almonds and candied fruits. The celebration continues on until Easter Monday where people go to a picnic or to have fun by the sea and dine on lamb, broad beans and a strong sheep’s milk cheese.
- In China, Easter isn’t celebrated with its usual religious colorings; rather, the Chinese celebrate the coming of spring with huge festivals and gifts of eggs. Eggs are seen as hallowed and spiritual and they symbolize the coming of spring, rebirth, fertility and life. The Chinese paint these special eggs which are given as gifts when spring comes.
- In the Czech Republic, Easter is seen more as a celebration of spring’s arrival rather than a great Catholic feast. It is a chance for families to meet and dine together, or to attend one of the cultural events held during the day. There are fairs held in many places, and a wide offering of beautifully hand-painted Easter eggs and eggs decorated using different techniques, such as the ‘kraslice’ where the yolk and the white of the egg is removed, leaving only the egg-shell which is then decorated.
It is certainly interesting to see how the world celebrates Easter, whether it is for the coming of spring, or for Christ’s resurrection. Does your country celebrate Easter? Do you celebrate it as a Christian holiday, associated with Christ’s resurrection, or does it have more to do with the arrival of spring? What things do you usually do to celebrate the holiday?