Easter Culture Around the World

Easter Sunday in the United States this year is April 21. Easter marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Americans celebrate with egg decorating, egg hunts, candy baskets, frilly dresses and hats for little girls, and Mass. But how do others celebrate around the world? Let’s take a look.

Spain

In some regions, Holy Thursday is celebrated with a night procession called the Dansa de la Mort, or Death Dance. Participants dress up like skeletons, reenacting scenes from the Passion. The last skeletons in the parade are carrying a box of ashes. Elsewhere, people place straw effigies of famous people around the town, then tear them up and throw the pieces up into the air.

Latin America

Brazil and other areas of Latin America participate in The Burning of Judas, making an effigy of Judas, who was the apostle known for betraying Jesus. They then burn the effigy in a central location such as a town square.

France

Rather than receive treats from the Easter bunny, like American children do, French children receive treats from the Easter bells. Legend says no church bells can ring between Holy Thursday and the Easter Vigil, in honor of the solemnity of the days surrounding the death of Jesus. It’s thought that the church bells did not ring because they sprouted wings and flew off to Rome where they were subsequently blessed by the Pope. They returned on Easter day filled with small gifts and chocolates for kids.

India

Christians only comprise 2.5 percent of India’s population, but they still celebrate this holiday with elaborate festivities. They participate in carnivals that offer songs, dances and street plays. To celebrate Easter, young and old exchange colorful lanterns, chocolates and flowers.

Italy

Florence residents celebrate “scoppio del carro,” a 350-year-old tradition that literally translates to “explosion of the cart.” They load an old cart with fireworks and pull it in front of the Duomo, much to the delight of spectators. It’s a sign of peace and hope for a prosperous year ahead.

China

In China, Easter is celebrated only by Catholics, Orthodox and Christians, but most others don’t observe it or celebrate it beyond the Western customs like Easter egg hunts. For Christians,

Easter signals the onset of spring, celebrated with eggs, rabbits, and baby chicks which symbolize the spring festival. Young and old will draw elaborate designs on eggs, but first they drain the eggs. Then, they will finely paint intricate images of women and beautiful scenery.

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