Easter Traditions Around the World

March 21, 2024

Photo By Sinziana Susa

Easter, celebrated by billions worldwide, is a time of joy, renewal, and reflection. While the holiday’s core themes remain consistent across cultures — resurrection, rebirth, and hope — the diverse ways in which it’s observed offer a fascinating tapestry of traditions. Let’s embark on a journey to discover Easter customs from various corners of the globe.

In Greece, Easter, known as “Pascha,” is a grand affair marked by solemn religious ceremonies and exuberant festivities. One of the most iconic traditions is the midnight Resurrection service, where worshippers gather outside churches to witness the moment the priest proclaims “Christos Anesti” (Christ is Risen). Following the service, families feast on a sumptuous meal featuring traditional dishes like lamb, tsoureki (sweet bread), and dyed eggs.

In Ethiopia, Easter, or “Fasika,” is celebrated with deep religious devotion and colourful processions. The week leading up to Easter Sunday, known as “Hudade,” is a time of fasting and prayer. On Easter morning, people dress in their finest attire and participate in vibrant processions to church, carrying intricately decorated palm fronds. The focal point of the celebration is the “Dabre Mitmita” ritual, where the faithful exchange Easter greetings and share a communal meal of injera (sourdough flatbread) and spicy stews.

In Sweden, Easter is a blend of ancient pagan customs and Christian traditions. One of the most beloved rituals is the decorating of Easter branches with colourful feathers and ornaments, symbolising the arrival of spring. Children eagerly anticipate the arrival of the “Easter Witch,” who, according to folklore, flies on her broomstick delivering sweets and treats to good children. The holiday culminates in lavish Easter feasts featuring pickled herring, cured salmon, and savoury meatballs.

In the Philippines, Easter, or “Pasko ng Pagkabuhay,” is a deeply religious occasion marked by elaborate reenactments of the Passion of Christ. Communities come together to stage “Senakulo” plays depicting the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. On Easter Sunday, churches overflow with worshippers attending dawn processions and Mass. The highlight of the celebration is the “Salubong,” where statues of Jesus and Mary are dramatically reunited amidst fireworks and music.

In Australia, Easter heralds the arrival of autumn and an opportunity for outdoor gatherings with family and friends. The holiday is synonymous with the iconic Easter Bilby, a native marsupial that has become an alternative symbol to the traditional Easter Bunny, promoting wildlife conservation efforts. Australians indulge in outdoor barbecues, beach outings, and Easter egg hunts, blending timeless traditions with modern-day leisure activities.

From the solemn rituals of the Greek Orthodox Church to the whimsical customs of Swedish folklore, Easter traditions around the world showcase the richness of human culture and spirituality. Regardless of geographic location or religious affiliation, the universal themes of hope, renewal, and community unite people in celebration during this special time of year. As we honour our diverse heritage and customs, may Easter serve as a reminder of the interconnectedness of humanity and the enduring power of faith and love.