Easter, tradition and globalization

Religious Easter celebrations

Easter is a religious festival celebrated in many countries. For the Jewish religion, it commemorates the passage of the Red Sea (Passover) and the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. At the end of Holy Week, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday.

Although originally, Easter was a religious celebration, it has become a universal celebration of spring and rebirth.

Traditional Easter symbols

Easter bells

In France and Belgium, the Easter Bunny brings eggs to the children and adults.

In Christianity, the bells stop ringing from Thursday to Saturday of the Holy Week. The legend says that they left to Rome and came back on Easter Sunday, spreading all kinds of eggs for the kids to look for in gardens, houses or apartments.

Easter eggs

The tradition of Easter eggs goes back to antiquity. Back then, the Egyptians and Romans already offered colored eggs in the spring as the symbol of life and rebirth. During the fourth century, the Church forbid the people to eat eggs during Lent. As hens kept laying eggs, those were kept, decorated and delivered. Nowadays, fasting is no longer strictly observed but the tradition of offering eggs, including chocolate eggs, remained to delight the young and old.

Easter bunny

The bunny once symbolized fertility and renewal. The tradition of Osterhase started in Germanic countries, and was later exported to the United States in the 18th century by German immigrants. The children used to make a nest in the garden, hoping that the Easter bunny would fill it with eggs during the night.

Easter around the world

During Easter, numerous cultural events take place. Some have pagan origins, others come from mythology, others remain very faithful to religious beliefs. Throughout the world, this festival is celebrated in many ways.

In France, Christians go to church to celebrate the Christ’s resurrection. As for Easter dinner, families gather around a traditional lamb roast. Then it’s time for children to go look for the eggs planted by the bells on their way back from Rome. In France, it is more and more common to offer gifts for Easter.

In Spain, Easter is marked by numerous processions and other religious ceremonies. The traditional dish is the Mona de Pascua (or Mona), a golden brioche often topped with eggs which symbolizes the end of Lent.

In England, the English name « Easter » finds its origins in the name Eostre, the God of Spring worshiped by the ancient Saxons who had an annual feast in his honor. During Easter, the English eat ham instead of lamb as the pig is a symbol of good luck to them.

In the North of England, the English roll Easter eggs.

In the U.S., it’s the Easter Bunny which brings eggs and other sweets to children. On Easter Monday, a big egg hunt is organized by the President in the gardens of the White House : it’s the White House Easter Egg Roll.

In Germany, children and their parents gather around the Easter fire at night. According to an old German tradition, the Easter fire symbolizes the sun and it is a way of celebrating the spring and the end of bad weather.

The bunny (Osterhase) puts chocolate eggs in small nests made by the children.

Another German custom is that of the Osterbaum, the Easter tree. The tree is decorated with colored eggshell which look like pieces of fruit. It symbolizes the return of good weather.

There are many other customs! And over the years, these traditions have spread to many countries around the world, and have become mixed with local customs.

Feel free to share your way of celebrating this holiday!

Happy Easter!

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