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Though  for many of us the days may all be merging into one, it is in fact, Easter Weekend! Here in the UK we celebrate Easter with egg hunts, bonnet parades and of course - chocolate. All of these festivities are to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus, however many aspects of Easter celebrations have been adopted into British culture by the religious and non-religious alike. So, whilst we in the UK sit down and tuck into our roast dinners and exchange Easter eggs, how is the rest of the world celebrating? Easter isn't only celebrated in the UK but all over the world. It is one of the most significant festivals in the Christian calendar and marks the beginning of the spring season. Each country has its own traditions including delicious traditional foods and ceremonies to celebrate the festive season. There’s an estimated 31% of the global population celebrating Easter each year, so if you want to learn more about all these different celebrations then keep on reading. 

Traditionally in France, chocolate isn't delivered by the Easter Bunny but instead by flying bells. During Easter in France, church bells refrain from ringing between Good Friday and Easter Sunday to commemorate the death of Jesus. Children are told that during this time the bells fly to Rome and then return on Easter Sunday morning with chocolate for the children. Often shops in France stock a lot of Easter chocolate in the shape of bells, rather than eggs! The town of Bessières in the southwest of France gets together every Easter Monday to make a giant omelette with 15,000 eggs which the whole town eats. It apparently takes a four-metre pan, 40 cooks and very long sticks. The tradition stems from Napoleon’s visit to the town where he ate a wonderful omelette before bed, which was so nice, he ordered a huge one be made for his army to eat before they left the next morning.

Even though the Christian population in India is only 2.5%, Easter is still celebrated with great passion, especially in Mumbai, Goa, and the North-eastern states which make extravagant arrangements for Easter festivities. The celebration of Easter in India commences with Lent and ends with Easter Sunday. Goa is one of the most festive during Easter holiday celebrations in India as they celebrate with street plays, songs, dances and carnivals. Most Christian households in India will bake Easter cakes for their loved ones and exchange colourful lanterns. Traditional dishes include Pesaha Appam which is an unleavened speciality bread served on Passover night of Maundy Thursday. It is traditionally served with Paal, a coconut based dip.

With one of the world’s largest Catholic populations, Easter in Brazil focuses on religious celebrations, spending time with family and, of course, Easter eggs. Páscoa (the Brazillian word for Easter) is celebrated from Palm Sunday and during this week religious services take place across the country, incorporating traditions like weaving palm branche crosses, speeches, prayer, and ceremonies. On Good Friday, most households in Brazil will avoid eating meat and eat fish instead. While celebrations take place all across the country, Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais is one of the most famous and colorful in Brazil. The long street between 2 churches is lined with a carpet of brightly colored flowers, sand, and sawdust creating intricate patterns, tradition that began in 1733. 

Did you know that the Easter Bunny is a German tradition? Originating among German Lutherans, the ‘Easter Hare’ originally played the role of a judge, evaluating whether children were good or disobedient at the start of Easter. The custom was first mentioned in Georg Franck von Franckenau's ‘ De ovis paschalibus’ ('About Easter Eggs') in 1682, referring to a German tradition of an Easter Hare bringing Easter eggs for the good children. Many households in Germany celebrate with an Easter cake shaped like a lamb as the centrepiece dessert. Many people in Germany also celebrate with an Easter Fire (or Osterfeuer) which can be as simple as lighting a candle, or as big as the bonfires. Community dependent, the Easter fire is often lit on Good Friday or Black Saturday and extinguished on Easter Sunday or Monday. 

In Malta, Good Friday is a day of mourning. No church bells are rung and decorations are removed from churches. No services are held although some people will go to church to kiss the cross at the time Jesus died and to say personal prayers. It is also a day of fasting. Easter Sunday is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ and the atmosphere is completely different to that of Good Friday. The churches are open, a special mass is celebrated and the bells are rung. Many towns celebrate with marching bands and a short procession with a statue of the Risen Christ. After mass, most people in Malta spend the day with their family, eating a special lunch consisting of lamb, potatoes and vegetables, much like our Sunday roast in the UK. They'll eat sweets, chocolate eggs and Figolli- Malta's special Easter cakes. Some other traditional Easter dishes include broad bean soup (‘kusksu’), Hot Cross buns and carob sweets (‘karamelli tal-ħarob’).

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We hope you enjoyed reading about Easter celebrations all around the world! How do you celebrate Easter, do you have any traditions that we haven’t mentioned here? Let us know. Happy Easter everyone! 

Written By Leona Chapman

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