Monday, 2 April 2012 7:21 AM
With the extra two bank holidays, Easter is popular time for families to jet off and enjoy a holiday abroad. You don’t have to sacrifice on Easter fun however as many destinations around the world celebrate in unique, interesting ways. From a herring feast in Sweden to bell-ringing in France, here are some of our favourite Easter traditions from around the world:
Lebanon’s Christians make up almost half the country’s population and are very fervent in their beliefs. As such, Easter here is a big deal characterised by ornately decorated streets, shops and restaurants filled with all things Easter from bunnies to chocolate and painted eggs. Easter Sunday is a huge celebration where absolutely everyone goes to church. After taking communion, the 40-day fast of eating a strictly vegan diet is broken. This is followed by a feast where lots of egg-breaking ensues. Also unique to Easter in the region is the consumption of sweets called Maamoul, little cookies made with a mixture of semolina and butter then stuffed with either dates or ground sugared nuts and dusted with icing sugar.
In France, church bells ring every day of the year except for the three days of Easter. Legend has it that the reason the bells stop ringing is because they’ve made a trip to Rome in order to be blessed. On Easter Sunday, the bells make their return and tour the entire country sprinkling chocolate eggs, chickens and rabbits as they go in each and every garden. After midday, children head to the gardens to find their hidden treasures left by the blessed bells.
In Spain, Easter is the most important Christian event. Celebrated en mass throughout the country, Easter Week begins with Domingo de Ramas (Palm Sunday) and ends with Lunes de Pascua (Easter Monday). The country is marked by a carnival atmosphere throughout, with trumpets and drums. Seville, Andalucia is the most famed Spanish region for Easter celebrations. It has 52 different religious brotherhoods whose members parade through the streets for the entire Holy Week manifesting the crucifixion. Processions continue for almost 24 hours culminating in the jubilation of the resurrection, which is observed by floats covered in flowers, dancing in the streets, and traditional sweet cakes.
Easter in Sweden is about fun, food and festivity. Humour filled celebrations commence on Easter Saturday with children dressing up as good witches setting the Easter mood by giving out letters and cards in return for eggs, sweets and coins. On Easter Sunday, food takes centre stage where, in typically Nordic fashion, the feast comprises mostly fish. Edibles include different kinds of herring, a selection of smoked salmon, a hint of roast ham and various cheeses. Of course, the main attraction is eggs, which are exchanged and later used in a game where participants roll them down roofing tiles to see which egg can go the furthest without breaking.
Greece and Godliness go hand in hand. From Mythology to Christianity, Greek religious practices have always been carried out with great zeal. In Athens, Good Friday marks the first main event where a replica of ‘Christ’s’ tomb is carried through town. Easter Sunday is a day of food and more fun. After an arduous 40-day fast, the menu comprises spit fire roast lamb and lots of coloured eggs. In the Orthodox tradition, you knock eggs with your neighbour attempting to crack theirs to bring yourself good fortune.
Compiled by Cheapflights. Visit the website to see cheap flight deals to any of the above destinations.
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