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Easter traditions around Europe


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Easter traditions

France

On Easter Monday, ambitious chefs in the city of Haux, take to the town's main square to build a fire and fry up an omelet large enough to sate the hunger of an entire town—it's lunch for up to 1,000 people

Spain

On Holy Thursday in the Medieval town of Verges, Spain, the traditional "dansa de la mort" or "death dance" is performed. To reenact scenes from The Passion, everyone dresses in skeleton costumes and parades through the streets. The procession ends with frightening skeletons carrying boxes of ashes. The macabre dance begins at midnight and continues for three hours into the early morning. |Spaniards consume a lot of sweets during easter and each region has it's own special sweets Bartolillos from Madrid, rosquillas de Semana Santa (Easter doughnuts), leche frita (fried dessert with milk and eggs), pestiños (pastries with sesame and honey) and buñuelos (fried pastries) are some typical delicacies

Italy

In Florence, Italy, the unique custom of the Scoppio del carro is observed in which a holy fire lit from stone shards from the Holy Sepulchre are used to light a fire during the singing of the Gloria of the Easter Sunday mass, which is used to ignite a rocket in the form of a dove, representing peace and the holy spirit, which following a wire in turn lights a cart containing pyrotechnics in the small square before the Cathedral. A typical easter lunch comprises of Italian delacacies made with Lamb, artichokes and eggs.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom the tradition of rolling decorated eggs down grassy hills goes back hundreds of years and is known as "pace-egging". In Scotland the Easter Sunday Menu for Lunch or Dinner is usually a special meal. Traditionally roast lamb is served, although some families still opt for Roast Turkey.

Flag of Germany

Germany

Decorated eggs are hung on branches of bushes and trees to make them Easter egg trees. On Easter Sunday, many families in Germany commence the Easter celebration by attending a church followed by a family breakfast or brunch. On the menu is often eggs, including some of the hard-boiled, painted Easter eggs, fruits and vegetables, bread rolls (Brötchen), fresh homemade cakes, carrot cake, various flavors of jam, cheese, and wurst.

Ireland

In the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland it is a day of remembrance for the men and women who died in the Easter Rising which began on Easter Monday 1916. Irish catholics traditionally eat leek soup and roast lamb.

Bulgaria

The Easter eggs are decorated on Thursday before Easter or at Saturday before Easter. Widespread tradition is to fight with eggs by pair and one's egg become last surviving is called borak (Bulgarian: борак, fighter). The tradition is to display the decorated eggs on the Easter table together with the Easter dinner consisting of roasted lamb, a salad called Easter salad (lettuce with cucumbers) and a sweet bread called kozunak

Czech Republic & Slovakia

Easter eggs are the most recognizable Czech tradition. Eggs are decorated and sold in Czech cities by artists from Moravia and Slovakia. Traditionally looking decorating eggs has been done by girls, as boys are mostly busy making whips and playing with rattles. Their traditional treat that is very popular is chocolate or sugar covered cake in the shape of a lamb. For Easter Monday every meal that they prepare has to have eggs as they are ancient symbol of new life and rebirth. In Slovakia Easter preparations begin days before Easter. To be ready for the feast, people bake pastries, cookies. Easter dinner menu is always festive: potato salad with mayonnaise, cooked ham, cold cuts, and sandwiches are served on Easter Sunday as well as on Easter Monday. Cookies and pastries cannot be excluded from the Easter men.

Bosnia & Herzegovina

A basket of food is prepared and covered with a handmade cloth, and brought to the church to be blessed. A typical Easter basket includes bread, colored eggs, ham, horseradish, and a type of nut cake called "potica"

Poland & Russia

The butter lamb (Baranek wielkanocny) is a traditional addition to the Easter Meal for many Polish Catholics. Butter is shaped into a lamb either by hand or in a lamb-shaped mould

Slovenia

Easter has in Slovenia many colourful traditions and customs dating centuries into the past. It has been important feast for the people of Slovenia. The biggest Christian feast brought about the end of a long fast, which started on Ash Wednesday, and at Easter the table of the average inhabitant of this country was laden as on no other occasion. The essential ham, bread, horseradish and a special Slovenian cake, potica, are at this time of the year accompanied by colourful decorated eggs, in Slovenia called pirhi, pisanice, pisanke, remenice or remenke.

Norway

In Norway a contemporary tradition is to read or watch murder mysteries at Easter. All the major television channels run crime and detective stories. The Norwegians focus on eating two things during Easter: lambs and oranges, lamb because Jesus is referred to as the lamb of god but oranges? This citrus fruit bonanza is believed to have its origin in the fact that for many years oranges were available in Norway only during late winter, when they had just been harvested in southern Europe. The best ones, the sweetest and juiciest, came right in time for Easter, and quickly became a symbol of the sunny days that were waiting ahead after a long and depressingly dark winter.

Sweden

In Sweden, Easter is celebrated with meals of eggs, herring, and Jansson's Temptation (potato, onion and pickled sardines baked in cream). The most interesting tradition to come out of Sweden (and Finland) is that in the days leading up to Easter Sunday, children dress up as Easter witches, wearing old and discarded clothes and go house to house to gather sweets.

Croatia

A traditional game (called as kockanje or tucanje) is played in which at least two people choose eggs and hold them vertically while one person lightly taps the end of the other egg with their end, to see whose will crack. Anyone whose egg cracks must choose another and then tap the other person's egg, and they continue until all the eggs have been used and cracked but the last one. Whoever holds the strongest egg in the end which has not been cracked, wins. A special fruit-studded yeast-raised Easter bread that borders on being a cake called pinca or sirnica is the highlight of the Easter meal.

Flag of Greece

Greece

The Greeks dye the Easter eggs all in one color: red (as a symbol for Jesus' blood). The eggs are used in making Easter bread

Switzerland

The Frankonian Swiss have an old Easter tradition of decorating wells in order to celebrate the gift of water: life. They decorate wells with beautifully painted eggs and spring flowers

Egypt

On Palm Sunday the church is decorated with palms and flowers, and children are given palm branches blessed with holy water they take home and keep all year. During Holy Week, people go to church every day. There are services leading up to the main Easter service on Saturday night, which lasts until 3-4 a.m. on Easter morning. Bells are rung to proclaim Christ's resurrection, and there is a procession with the newly lit candles.

Ethiopia

The period before Easter Sunday is called Lent. During lent, Ethiopian Christians avoid any animal products, such as meat, eggs, butter, milk, yoghurt, cream and cheese. After they have been to the Easter Eve service the family returns home to break their fast and later in the afternoon, they share the main celebratory meal of the day. At the Easter service all Ethiopians wear a traditional white clothes, called yabesha libs. During all their holidays, Ethiopians eat a huge special sourdough bread called Dabo. They bake enough to offer a slice to everybody who visits the house. On Easter morning, the bread should be cut, after saying a prayer, by a priest or by the main man of the house.

China

Most people don't observe Easter or believe in the resurrection at all, and other millions of Chinese have taken up Western children customs such as Easter eggs hunts just for the fun or novelty. How people celebrate Easter varies widely. For Christians, some of the established churches with buildings treat it like a mini Chinese New Year complete with red paper slogans called chūnlián (春联) on the church building and in the homes, special bands or music, and special decorations.

India

On Shrove Tuesday, simnel cakes and pancake cakes are prepared. Christians attend church services to admit their sins and ask for forgiveness. The root of Easter celebrations in India was laid during British rule and progressed much during the Portuguese and French possession.