Celebrating Easter Around the Globe

Easter is celebrated around the globe – while in the Christian faith, it is a very special time, with this being the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. Around the world, it's also tied to rituals related to the coming of spring and other local customs. Interestingly, Western Christian churches and most Orthodox Christian churches follow different calendars and observe the holiday on different dates. This year Easter falls on April 16/17th weekend.

Traditionally Easter is celebrated with religious ceremonies, prayers, and small family-oriented get together and brunches. In some parts of Europe, Easter is celebrated with bonfires and the exchange of gifts. In Asia, it is tied into many Spring celebrations and chocolate egg exchanges, and even exchanges of gifts like clothing and other small items. In Hong Kong, it is also celebrated with Egg Hunts, Brunches, Afternoon Tea, and picnics!

Around the world, there are many customs and events that celebrate Easter – here are three great places to be for Easter – here at home in the USA, in England to enjoy the quirky celebrations, or in Italy where it is one of the most important and religious holidays!

Celebrating Easter here at home in the USA:

Here in America, this year, on April 17, many American Christians will celebrate Easter Sunday — the oldest and most important holy day of the Christian calendar. Easter most often coincides with the Jewish celebration of Passover.
Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians believe Jesus was raised from the dead three days after his crucifixion some 2,000 years ago. Many Christians observe a period of fasting and confessing their sins in the 40 days leading up to the holiday. This time is known as Lent and comes from an old English word meaning "spring." Churches hold vigils the night before to greet the new day at sunrise and reflect on the meaning of resurrection.

Some other common Easter Traditions are an Easter Sunday egg-hunt for the children, an Easter Brunch after the Sunday Mass, or an early evening Easter Dinner Celebration. Since it is usually springtime - little statuaries of bunnies, lambs, chicks, and little ducklings make up the key favorites for décor, and Easter Eggs and Chocolate Bunnies for children a must-have!

Easter Celebrations in the United Kingdom:

In England, the modern-day celebration of Easter is a mixture of pagan and Christian traditions with a sprinkling of Spring festivities.

Easter was originally a pagan celebration and was named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, Eostre. Later, the Christians adopted it to mark the crucifixion and rebirth of Jesus – so goes the historical view of the evolution of Easter in the UK. The holiday's mixed origins have resulted in some interesting traditions in the UK, including the practice of enjoying chocolate shaped like eggs, bunnies, and chicks.
This tradition of having chocolate eggs can be traced back to the early 1800s, when artificial eggs were made as gifts for Easter throughout Europe. Solid chocolate eggs also became fashionable in France and Germany around this time. The first hollow Easter eggs that most closely resemble what we enjoy today were invented and made in Bristol by a company that eventually merged with Cadbury's, who launched their first Easter egg in 1875 and designed the iconic Cadbury's Creme Egg. So much for the origin of the Easter Egg!

Playing games such as the egg and spoon race is something common in many parts of the world, but especially in England around Easter, and the aim of the game is to run a race while balancing a hard-boiled egg on a spoon. The first person to finish the race, without dropping the egg, is the winner.
Other traditions include the obligatory Easter egg hunt whereby someone (acting as the legendary Easter bunny, one of the symbols of Easter) hides chocolate eggs around the house or garden, and contestants race around to find as many as possible. Be warned, some kids can get extremely competitive at this! Another Easter treat is the Hot Cross Bun – they are small, sweet bread buns that contain raisins or currants and are best eaten smothered in butter!!

Easter in Italy

Easter in Italy is a huge holiday, second only to Christmas in its importance for Italians.

If you're lucky enough to be in Italy for Easter, you won't see the famous bunny or go for an Easter egg hunt. The days leading up to Easter include solemn processions and masses. Pasqua is a celebration marked with rituals and traditions. La Pasquetta, the Monday after Easter Sunday, is also a public holiday throughout the country.

And if you are lucky enough to be in Rome during Easter – on Good Friday, the Pope celebrates the Via Crucis, or Stations of the Cross, in Rome near the Colosseum. A huge cross with burning torches lights the sky as the stations of the cross are described in several languages, and the Pope gives a blessing at the end. Easter mass is held in every church in Italy, with the biggest and most popular celebrated by the Pope at Saint Peter's Basilica.

Since Easter is the end of the Lent season — food plays a big part in the celebrations. Traditional holiday foods and special Easter breads that vary from region to region are the principal foods of the celebration. Pannetone sweet bread and Colomba (dove-shaped) bread are often given as gifts, as are hollow chocolate eggs that usually come with a surprise inside.

Celebrating Easter this year …

This year enjoy a small brunch at home with friends and family – with traditional foods from around the world or a local selection of favorites. Bring on the light pastels of the season and take a moment to stop and smell the flowers. We have specially selected a small selection of décor items for you to dress up your house with for this special event – maybe even plan an Easter Egg Hunt with our unique hand-made multi-colored alabaster eggs!