Celebrating Easter Around the World

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Easter Around the World

Easter is a major Christian holiday, but in addition to its religious significance, it is also known for more secular traditions.  In the United States, Easter includes colorful eggs, fancy baskets, fuzzy bunny rabbits, pretty dresses, chocolate, jelly beans and marshmallow chicks. In countries around the world, Easter isn’t just about hunting for eggs!  Here are a few ways people celebrate Easter across the globe.

Jamaica

(From Patrina Richards, Work & Travel)

In Jamaica, Easter is a big deal. Being a mostly Christian country, people usually go to Easter services. In addition, there is a popular annual Easter kite festival in Saint Ann Parish.  People are very creative and make beautiful kites.  They show off their kite and see who can fly it the highest. They also enjoy Easter Bun and Cheese, a Jamaican Easter food staple. Every family will ensure that they have at least one bun and a tin or slice of cheese in their home.

Easter Around the World
Easter Around the World

Serbia

(From Natasa Kiric, Academic Year Program)

In Serbia, Easter is based on the Julian calendar which often differs from the Gregorian calendar that is used by many western countries. Therefore, the Orthodox Easter period often occurs later.  For example, this year it is celebrated on April 8th.  Many people fast for Lent which lasts 40 days and ends on Easter.  People go to church and then enjoy a nice rich breakfast.  Coloring eggs is also a Serbian tradition.  Mothers, grandmothers, and daughters gather on Good Friday to boil and dye eggs, while the whole family participates in decorating them. They can be colored in many different ways, but one thing is certain: red is a must.  The most beautiful red egg is kept until the next Easter.

Egg-dying inevitably leads to Easter’s second most important activity: the Easter morning egg war! Everyone picks a favorite egg and compares its strength by smashing one egg against the other. The surviving egg is the champion.

Besides eggs, there are many different delicious meals prepared and served for the Easter breakfast including Serbian traditional round bread (you can hardly imagine any holiday without the bread) and cooked ham with horseradish.

Uzbekistan

(From Kamilla Silina, Work & Travel)

While they don’t specifically celebrate Easter in Uzbekistan, due to its diverse population (large Russian community, Ukrainians, Ossetians, etc.) the celebration is still present. Neighbors will gather together and bring one another colored eggs and enjoy kulich bread for the holiday.  They also play the egg way game that you will see in Serbia.  In return, Uzbeks will share their traditional holiday with their neighbors.  A true cultural exchange.

Slovakia

(From Tom Areton, CHI Founder)

In Slovakia, Easter is a traditional holiday, combining elements of paganism and Christianity. Slovaks paint Easter eggs, often in school. Before painting, they make two holes at both ends of the egg and blow out the egg yolk and the egg white. Painting is often done in schools (in the cities), or at home (in the countryside). Some eggs are truly beautiful.  Children make decorated whips from young spring boughs with ribbons tied on and the boys playfully chase the girls.

In some villages, the “fun” escalates and water gets thrown all around (perfume in the cities).  The whole village makes an Old Man (or Woman) Winter out of straw and they all march it, singing, to the nearest river, where they set it on fire and toss it in, symbolically signifying that winter is gone.

 

Germany

(From Stephi Pach, Academic Year Program)

Depending on your religion, many German families attend church mass on Easter. Since on Good Friday most people don’t eat meat, Germans eat even more on Easter including lamb, pork, beef.  After a good meal, the “Ostereiersuche” (Easter egg hunting) starts. It’s very traditional. Little gifts are hidden in the house or garden for each family member and they all go searching for them. It’s very fun for kids and of course the best part of the day.

It’s very common in Germany’s villages that people gather together at a certain place around 8 pm and watch the “Osterfeuer” (Easter bonfire).  People chat while having a good German beer and Bratwurst and the children enjoy the bonfire.

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