In the Christian church, Easter Sunday is the most important date. It is the day in the Bible when Mary Magdalene discovered an empty tomb in the cave where Jesus had been deposited after his crucifixion the previous Friday.
It marks the completion of Lent’s 40 days, allowing Christians who gave up something during Lent to represent Jesus’ time in the wilderness to indulge once more. After a period of silence throughout Lent, church bells will sound again on Easter Sunday.
While different countries and churches have their traditions for celebrating the festival, many prolong the celebrations beyond Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. It’s a time for family, remembering, gift-giving, and feasting, among other things. Eggs have long been associated with Easter as a symbol of fertility and rebirth in Christianity.
In 2022, Easter Sunday will be on April 17th. Easter is a movable feast, thus the date changes every year, although it always falls between March 22 and April 25.
Easter Sunday Traditions Around the World
The Easter Bunny has become a well-known symbol in Easter celebrations. The Easter Bunny visits children’s gardens throughout Europe and America, delivering chocolate eggs and treats for them to find during Easter Egg hunts.
Rabbits and hares have no obvious Christian link, however, it’s important to note that the pagan goddess Ostara was always accompanied by a hare. The modern custom is based on a German custom that dates back to the 16th century.
It may seem weird for a rabbit to lay eggs, but since eggs were one of the foods that were prohibited during Lent, their reintroduction would have been a welcome treat, regardless of how they came into the garden.
Hares were originally supposed to be capable of giving birth without conceiving, which could have been used to explain the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary. Rabbits emerging from their underground burrows are also supposed to be a symbol of Jesus emerging from the tomb after his resurrection on Easter morning.
Lamb is the traditional Easter Sunday dinner meat. During the Jewish Passover, a lamb was sacrificed, and it became a symbol for Jesus. It’s also a seasonal dish, as Spring lamb is particularly tender and flavorful.
How is Easter Celebrated Around the World?
Celebrations by Christians: Easter is a time for family, as well as religious symbolism, and many people choose to meet for meals and celebrations. After giving up a certain food for Lent, Christians are allowed to eat what they had given up, with chocolate being a popular choice.
During Holy Week, additional special church services with the ringing of church bells are held.
Easter is traditionally associated with a variety of seasonal dishes, including lamb, spring vegetables, hot cross buns, and Easter bread, the ingredients of which vary by country. On Good Friday, hot cross buns are traditionally eaten to celebrate the crucifixion.
Easter baskets are woven and decorated, and Easter egg hunts can be held in public or at home.
Simnel cakes have been prepared in Western Christianity since the Middle Ages. Fruitcakes with marzipan fillings are traditionally connected with Mother’s Day and are consumed over the Easter season.
Celebrations around the world: While parades, particularly those involving the wearing of homemade Easter bonnets, are popular around the world, there are many diverse traditions.
On Good Friday, people in Bermuda travel to clifftops to fly kites, while in Finland, young girls dress up as Easter witches and go door-to-door with a handful of willow twigs, trying to ward off evil spirits. They are then given a chocolate egg as a form of gratitude.
On Easter Monday in the French town of Haux, a giant omelet is served in the main square, harkening to Napoleonic days. It can feed up to 1,000 people because it is made up of 15,000 eggs.
For the past 350 years, inhabitants of Florence, Italy, have been celebrating the same tradition. Scoppio del Carro, or “explosion of the cart,” includes an extravagant cart loaded with fireworks being driven through the streets by persons dressed in 15th-century costumes. The Archbishop of Florence, stopping outside the Duomo for Easter mass, lights the fuse that leads outside to the cart and sparks a colorful firework display.