Easter begins on Palm Sunday and continues into Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday, and in some countries, Easter Monday. All around the world the Easter holiday is celebrated by different cultures through various traditions. Celebrations are had by enjoying chocolate bunnies to Easter egg hunts and kite flying. Many traditions around the world are similar, however there are local traditions for each country that are unique.
In Mexico, Easter or “Pascua” is one of the most important and widely celebrated religious holidays. Celebrations are a mixture of traditional Christian rituals combined with native traditions. It is observed starting with Semana Santa (Holy Week) which is Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday and Pascua (Resurrection Sunday until the following Saturday). Palm Sunday is celebrated with creative offerings and crosses made of woven palms. The palms are then hung on the doors of homes to ward away evil.
Many Mexican Easter traditions are derived from Spanish celebrations with diversity depending on the regions and cities. Easter begins on Miercoles De Ceniza (Ash Wednesday) and continues through Cuaresma (Lent) which is the period of 40 days before the Holy Week.
Brazil has the largest Catholic population in the world – boasting 130 million representing 74 percent of their population. Therefore, Easter is one of the main Catholic holidays celebrated.
Similar to the US, Easter Sunday is a day for church, relaxation, and time with family and friends. Many times adults give children an oversized chocolate egg with either toys or candy inside. Godparents present the children with gifts for Easter.
Easter Day brings about reenactments of the last days of Christ including his arrest, trial, and crucifixion. During Holy Week, some towns in Minas Gerais including historic Ouro Preto, Diamantina and Mariana, decorations are displayed around the streets with colored patterns all over the road’s surfaces and a procession will carry statues of Mary and the body of Christ. In addition to relaxing and maybe traveling, Brazilians attend religious processions, rituals, plays, and mass.
In China, Easter is only celebrated by the Catholics, Orthodox, and established Christian churches. Some Chinese have taken up some of the traditional customs for children such as Easter egg hunts for fun. But the way Easter is celebrated in China varies widely.
Christians celebrate Easter to remember the resurrection of Christ and established churches will celebrate with red paper slogans called chūnlián, as well as music and decorations. Easter eggs may be given as gifts and church service/mass is attended. Official Chinese Catholic churches have big celebrations and traditionally, new Catholics are baptized on Easter.
In Hong Kong, Easter is celebrated more. This is partly due to their more English traditions but also because there is a higher number of Christians and Christian expats living there. Easter Sunday and the following Monday are public holidays in Hong Kong and most businesses and government departments are closed. You may see special meals being served in celebration as well as Easter egg hunts and other entertainment for children.
Easter is a holiday recognized around the world. While celebrations may vary and traditions are individual to the country, there are many ways the day is commemorated. How do you celebrate?