Easter has always been a holiday of celebration and feasting since its origins. Be it spending a relaxing day consuming as much chocolate as possible or cooking a family feast, Easter naturally creates a great gathering, where families and friends come together to celebrate.
Whether making a roast for the family meal, decorating Easter eggs, or baking, there is room for creativity on this holiday. Every year, many people take the opportunity to improvise culinary treats using leftover Easter eggs for delicacies such as crème egg brownies, delicious organic chocolate mousse, hot cross buns, cakes, and so on.
Although traditions such as egg hunts have been around for decades, it’s interesting to see how Easter is celebrated in different parts of the world. Let’s have a look at some rather interesting Easter traditions around the world.
Easter in Britain
Every year lots of custom traditions and celebrations happen across the UK. With some more unusual than others, the Brits seem to fairly enjoy this holiday. Morris Dancing is an unusual historic celebration which involves dressing up in the traditional white suits, bonnet hats, bells and ribbons and dancing a folk ritual choreography while holding up sticks. Traditionally this dance celebrates the coming of spring.
For the little ones, egg hunting is an Easter tradition that can’t be missed. Children go around a park with a basket searching for the painted Easter eggs, which they believe are brought by the ‘Easter Bunny’.
Easter in Britain also means traditional treats such as creme eggs and hot cross buns often filled with raisins and sultanas.
Easter in Spain
While food is an important aspect of Spanish Easter, the main focus is the religious meaning of this season. In fact, the Easter period in Spain is known as ‘Semana Santa’, meaning Holy Week. During this holiday Spanish streets come alive through religious processions and floats, where religious groups wear traditional colourful costumes, accompanied by drummers, while parading through the streets mourning the death of Christ.
When it comes to culinary traditions, Spain doesn’t miss out on this either. Family meals are focal as it’s when the Spanish get to enjoy traditional treats such as the bread pudding ‘Tirrijas’, ‘Pestiños’, which are deep fried fritters or classic Easter cakes, ‘Monas de Pascua’, and ‘Buñelos’.
Easter in Slovakia
Speaking of unusual Easter traditions, Slovakia certainly has a unique way of celebrating this holiday. Over Easter, women go through what is known as the traditional time of rebirth, where females are doused in litres of water and whipped with braided whips to symbolise good health and strength for the upcoming season.
Easter in Finland
Easter in Finland is a combination of history, tradition, and food feasts. The Finnish really appreciate the Easter season as it symbolises the approaching spring, when they get to say goodbye to the cold and dark winter days. If you were to spend Easter in Finland, you would most likely come across children dressed-up as witches. Yes, as bizarre as this might sound, this is a historic tradition that still endures today.
On this occasion, the children wear colourful clothes, they wear head scarves, and paint their cheeks with fake freckles. Then, they head into town to knock door to door, wishing those who open a healthy year. In exchange, children expect and hope to receive some chocolate or sweet treats.
Easter delicacies are also a must in Finland. People traditionally eat roast lamb as a main and then finish their meal off with traditional chocolate desserts ‘Mämmi’ and ‘Pasha’.
Easter in Australia
While Easter across many countries in the world symbolises the welcoming of spring and sunnier days, it’s not quite the same in Australia, as the holiday falls during autumn. Despite the weather, people still enjoy cultural events and festivals outdoors with the Pancake Day, the National Folk Festival or the Australian Gospel Festival being a few examples.
An interesting fact about Easter in Australia is the celebration of the Easter Bilby, the Australian equivalent of the Easter bunny. Bilby is a rare rodent which is endangered in the country, and the tradition is that it brings chocolate eggs and sweets to children, just like the universally known Easter bunny.
With some celebrations quirkier than others, Easter is clearly a season the brings people together. With fun activities for the little ones and bizarre religious rituals for the adults, it’s interesting to see how this holiday is celebrated differently in different cultures around the world. One thing all the countries we’ve seen have in common is that food is always a must.