My husband was gifted a trip from his previous employer to Cordoba, Argentina this week. I am anxious to hear his stories, his experiences and the details behind the town shutting down for 5 days from today–Good Friday. Argentina is predominantly Catholic and the new Pope happens to be from Argentina, so I am sure he will learn a few things while he is there visiting during Easter. With Easter this weekend my curiosity of other religious cultures has peeked my interest.
I thought you may be a little interested too, so I am going to share what I can learn and we will all be a little more enlightened.
Here are some traditions from around the world according to an article by the Huffington Post
In Bermuda they celebrate Good Friday by flying home-made kites, eat codfish cakes and hot cross buns.
My suggestions from the inspiration of Bermuda: Maybe for your Easter week you could make a special bread that is braided to symbolize connection & bringing family together, or a bread shaped like a cross or dove. I also love the idea of getting Kites and it being a symbol of waving hello to God. Another fun idea would be to have your family write messages of thanks on the kite to send to the heavens.
In Norway they have an interesting tradition for the season known for “Easter Crime” or Paaskekrim. At this time of year, many around the country read mystery books or watch televised crime detective series. Many families escape to the mountains for the vacation week beginning the Friday before Palm Sunday and ending the Tuesday after Easter Monday.
My suggestions from the inspiration of Norway: You could have each family member bring a favorite hymn or quote relating to Easter to share with the family.
In Northwestern parts of Europe they have large bonfires, called Easter Fires, and are lit on Sunday and Monday. While there are various explanations for the origin of the Easter Fires, the most common Saxon tale is that Easter is a time when spring becomes victorious over winter and the fires were to chase the darkness of winter away. Today, however, the meaning of the fires is to bring communities together. They also share Easter baskets or make easter bonnets.
My suggestions from the inspiration of Europe: I love this idea, to gather family around and build a big bonfire after a beautiful Easter meal. I think it would also be fun to have everyone create their own Easter bonnet to wear to a family easter egg hunt.
In Sweden, Easter is celebrated with meals of eggs, herring and Jansson’s temptation (potato, onion, pickled sardines baked in cream). The most interesting tradition to come out of Sweden is that in the days leading up to Easter Sunday, children dress up as Easter witches, wearing old and discarded clothes. Traveling from home to home in their neighborhoods, the children trade paintings and drawings for sweets.
My suggestions from the inspiration of Sweden: I liked the idea of having children trade their drawings and paintings for sweets. I am having a big egg hunt with my nieces and nephews and I think I am going to invite them all to bring a piece of artwork to share with everyone before the festivities begin.
In Haiti, the Holy Week is marked with colorful parades and traditional “sara” music played on bamboo trumpets, maracas, drums and coffee cans. It is usually a mixture of Catholic and Voodoo traditions.
My suggestions from the inspiration of Haiti: You could have children make their own hand-made drum out of a coffee can. They could get very creative & then drum together. Or you could have a family parade of everyone dressed in their Sunday best, dancing and posing for one another.
Some more interesting ideas:
In Poland and Russia they are known for their “Butter Lambs”–butter is sculpted into the shape of a lamb, which accompanies a meal.
In Australia they are beginning to make a chocolate Bilby (in stead of Bunny) to help raise the awareness about the dwindling Bilby population.
In other parts of Europe fountains may be adorned with flowers, ribbons and eggs.
The bell’s in France’s churches are silenced on Good Friday to recognize the death of Jesus. But legend says that the bells actually fly to Rome and fly back in time to be rung on Easter Sunday. There are many paintings that attest to this tradition.
In England they still have egg rolling contests. People compete by rolling eggs down large hills and the ones that roll the furthest or survive the most competitions win.
In Mexico there are passion plays and processions of which the most important is called the Via Crucis (which is Jesus sent to be crucified). You will not find easter bunnies or chocolate eggs here on Sunday.
In Ireland you will find dance–like the cake dance, the Dawn Dance–long ago the people of Ireland believed that when the sun rises on Easter morning, it dances with joy that the Savior has risen. Families would get up before dawn and make their way to the top of a hill and wait for the sun & then do a jig.
Well, I hope this world tour of Easter events was fun, fascinating & filled you with fun ideas to create for your own Easter week.
Feliz Pascua (Happy Easter in Spanish) Joyeuses Pâques (Happy Easter in French)
Vrolijk paasfeest (Happy Easter in Dutch) Selamat Paskah (Happy Easter in Indonesian) Bonn fet pak (Happy Easter in Haitian Creole) Buona Pasqua (Happy Easter in Italian)
God paske (Happy Easter in Norwegian) just a little taste from other cultures!!
HAPPY EASTER wherever you are. PEACE and LOVE to you. -Heather