This Sunday is an important date in Christian (and non-Christian) calendars, spanning countries, cultures and languages – it’s Easter Sunday! Easter is a movable feast, so its date is not fixed in the calendar but rather it falls anywhere between 22nd March and 25th April. In Greece this year it is on 5th May as it adheres to the Greek Orthodox calendar, though the date, as with the Christian celebration, moves each year.
Traditionally, Easter is a celebration in culture of spring and rebirth, and of course for Christians it marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Easter celebrations take many forms around the world. Christians celebrate the resurrection by going to church and gathering together to share in fellowship.
Aside from the religious aspects of course there is a more commercial side that has become commonplace which tends to include celebrations with food and of course the exchange of chocolate eggs.
In many countries, children decorate hard-boiled eggs and the Easter Bunny hides them around the house and garden for the well-known Easter egg hunt.
Many countries have Easter Sunday and Easter Monday as a public holiday and some also have the Friday prior to Easter Sunday – known as Good Friday – as a public Holiday.
Another Easter tradition in The Netherlands, Belgium and France, is for church bells to be silent as a sign of mourning for one or more days before Easter.
According to the book Encyclopedia of Observances, Holidays and Celebration, “in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, a tradition of spanking or whipping is carried out on Easter Monday. In the morning, men throw water at females and spank them with a special handmade whip called a pomlázka (in Czech) or korbáč (in Slovak). The pomlázka/ korbáč consists of eight, twelve or even twenty-four withies (willow rods), is usually from half a metre to two metres long and is decorated with coloured ribbons at the end. It must be mentioned that the spanking is not normally painful or intended to cause suffering. A legend says that women should be spanked with a whip in order to keep their health and beauty during the [following] year.”
What traditions are there in your country? Are there certain foods that people eat to celebrate? Is chocolate a big part of the festivities?
No matter the reason you celebrate Easter, it is interesting to hear how you do so. The traditions seen on important dates such as these allow a little insight into the deeper culture of the countries celebrating and as such are invaluable.
So wherever you are in the world, think about how others will be celebrating as Easter comes around and maybe even try out a well-known phrase in a few different languages as well!:
How to say Happy Easter in different languages:
Afrikaans: Geseënde Paasfees
Cornish: Pask Lowen
German: Frohe Ostern
Greek: Καλό Πάσχα (Kaló pasha)
Italian: Buona Pasqua
Norwegian: God påske
Spanish: ¡Felices Pascuas!