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18 Apr 2014

Easter celebrations

Easter is this weekend and much to the delight of many children in the English speaking world this involves lots of chocolate! The Easter egg hunts, family get togethers and searching for traces of the Easter bunny in the garden all make for a fun-filled weekend, not forgetting the bank holidays for the adults.

While some people do still attend mass on Easter Sunday, Easter in the English speaking world has lost some of its religious roots. With that in mind I decided to look up what our European neighbours will be doing this weekend and how many of their celebrations are actual traditions and which ones are modern 'interpretations'.

Source: www.happyholidays2014.com

Semana Santa - Spain

Source: tuagendasetting.blogspot.com
Otherwise known as Holy week, this celebration is based more on the religious aspects of the holiday. During the week before Easter, processions take place in many cities across the country. The features of the processions, for example what they wear, differ depending on the region. However people typically wear a cloak and a pointed hood that covers the wearer's face. The other common feature is that there is usually a 'Paso' or float depicting a certain part of the gospel. 




Kokkina avga - Greece

Source: ocog.thischurch.org
Red Easter eggs are a tradition of the Greek orthodox church. The eggs are dyed red because red symbolises life and the blood of Christ. The egg itself also symbolises the renewal of life, so the message of the red egg is victory over death. Easter is one of, if not the, most important religious holidays in Greece and they usually start their celebrations on the Thursday before Easter Sunday. 




PĂ„ske - Norway

Source: www.toptenz.net
As well as staying in the mountains, skiing and decorating eggs, a contemporary tradition for the Norwegians is to read or watch murder mysteries at Easter. All the major television channels run crime and detective shows, as well as the magazines. They even go as far as to change milk cartons, printing a short murder mystery story on the side. 







 Osterbrunnen - Germany

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_egg_tree



Decorated Easter eggs are hung on trees to make them into Easter egg trees. The most famous example is Saalfelder Ostereierbaum, Volker Kraft's apple tree. They have been decorating the tree since 1965 and started with just 18 eggs, in 2012 he had over 10,000 eggs on the tree! They also make Osterbrunnen, which are fountains or wells decorated with eggs. 'Easter fires' are also lit on Easter day at sunset, this happens mostly in Northern Germany and is known as 'Osterfeuer'. 



Egg Rolling - Scotland

Source: news.bbc.co.uk
Egg rolling is a traditional Easter game played with hard boiled, decorated eggs. People roll the eggs down steep hills and the egg that goes the furthest without breaking wins. Arthur's seat in Edinburgh is a particularly popular spot. In Lancashire, the broken egg shells have to be carefully crushed otherwise they believe that witches will steal the shells and use them as boats....Each to their own!






And of course it wouldn't be a holiday without some of Britain's crazy old traditions. Have a look here to find out what they are!

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