In our blog today, we take a look at some interesting Easter traditions from around the world. Different countries and cultures have their own special traditions to celebrate the Easter holiday, for many it is a time of celebrations and feasting.  Christians come together to commemorate the resurrection of Christ, whereas others celebrate Easter by decorating, exchanging or searching for eggs. Read on to find out more about Easter Traditions from around the world. 

1: Italy (Rome)

For many years, on Good Friday, the Pope has commemorated the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) at the historic Colosseum. During the event, a large cross with burning torches illuminates the sky and the 14 Stations of the Cross are described aloud in several different languages. Mass in the Catholic city is celebrated on the evening of Holy Saturday and on Easter Sunday, thousands of people gather in St. Peter’s Square to await the Pope’s blessing.

Vatican-City-Rome

St Peter’s Square in Rome

2: Greece

Easter, or Pascha in Greek, is the most important religious holiday of the Orthodox Church. Unlike Catholic and Protestant countries, the Greek Orthodox Church does not always celebrate Easter on the same date. This is because the Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar when calculating Easter. Not all Greeks celebrate Easter in the same way, various small towns and villages have their own way of marking the occasion, however, some things do remain the same, such as the colouring of the egg. Greeks mainly colour eggs red to signify the blood of Christ. They use hard-boiled eggs, which are painted red on Holy Thursday, and are baked into twisted sweet-bread loaves or distributed on Easter Sunday.

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Traditional Greek Easter eggs painted red and bread

3: Jamaica

Easter isn’t as big an event on the island as Christmas, but there are still traditions upheld on this wonderful slice of Caribbean paradise. Bun and cheese are a must for Jamaicans (similar to a Hot Cross bun) in the Easter season, and the supermarket shelves are laden with Easter buns of all sizes. Good Friday sees many churchgoers, often dressed in dark colours, attending church to mark the 3 hours that Jesus spent on the cross – these colours are changed to white during the service on Easter Sunday – and on Easter Monday, it’s down to the beach to enjoy a range of events that take place across the island. It also marks the beginning of Carnival.

Hot Cross Buns similar to traditional Jamaican Easter buns

Hot Cross Buns similar to traditional Jamaican Easter buns

4: France

Much of the country considers itself Roman-Catholic, so Easter celebrations are a big thing and one of the oldest traditions is the Ringing of the Bells. The tradition begins on Maundy Thursday, before Good Friday. From this day, all the bells in France remain still and silent in remembrance of Jesus’ passing. When Easter Sunday arrives, the bells across France once again ring out, to rejoice in Jesus’ resurrection. Other Easter traditions include chocolate fish and the tossing of uncooked eggs into the air.

Chocolate fish

Chocolate fish

5: Mexico

Easter in Mexico is one of the most important religious holidays of the year and it is celebrated across the country. Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, and many communities across the country have special masses dedicated to the blessing of palm fronds. These fronds are often woven into crosses and other designs, sometimes quite intricate and brought by parishioners to have holy water sprinkled on them. Easter Sunday is celebrated with mass and church bells will ring out. Re-enactments are also popular across Mexico and the most famous is held in Iztapalapa in the east of Mexico City.  This production involves over 4000 residents (all of which are born in Iztapalapa) and they perform scenes related to the last week of Jesus’s life from Palm Sunday to Good Friday. The production has been done each year since 1843 and today the spectacle attracts over 2 million spectators, mostly Mexican.

Mexican Church

Mexican Church

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Aegean Odyssey will visit Jamaica and Mexico during her 2018 winter season. You can view our Cuba, Caribbean and Mexico sailings on our website >

Italy, Greece and France will all feature during our 2017 programme and our 2018 cruise programme. Take a look at our full list of itineraries online >