April 11, 2019
April has officially arrived and people from all around the world are excited to welcome and celebrate Easter. For those who aren’t quite familiar with this religious holiday or observance, let’s dive into the brief history of Easter.
Derived from an old English word ‘Eostre’ or ‘Ostara,’ Easter was first used to describe this religious celebration around the 7th century. At that time, Saint Bede the Venerable mentioned that April was also known to be ‘Eostronath’ – the Anglo-saxon goddess who was heavily identified with spring.
The word ‘Eostronath’ itself was translated by Bede as ‘Paschal Month,’ which then evolved to be Easter or Paskah celebration as we know of today. Being one of the most celebrated religious holidays in the world, it is no surprise that people follow many different traditions on this special day. These five unique Easter Celebrations will show you how diverse this world is!
Photo credit: www.tourisme-alsace.com
Like many other four season country, Easter in France is a very special holiday for many Christians – because this holiday combines the beautiful ambience of the new season, Spring, as well as the solemnity of Easter. According to thelocal.fr, there are two most well-known Easter traditions which people still hold on to every year – one of them involving a giant omelette! The first one comes from Alsace region, where locals are celebrating Easter by holding a festival which involves live music, art exhibition, and street market. As in the small town called Bessieres, as many as 10.000 locals are gathered every year to make a giant omelette. This tradition was believed to be an homage to Napoleon Bonaparte, who once visited Bessieres and then fell in love with omellette made by a local. He then ordered them to make a giant omelette for his troop the next day.
The first thing that comes into your mind when hearing the word Italy is probably ‘Pizza.’ But, we also couldn’t separate the fact that Italy is a home to hundreds of ancient ruins, biggest art collections in history, as well as one of the most holy places on earth – Vatican. Therefore, it is safe to say that Easter Celebration in Michelangelo’s hometown will be too good to be missed. According to italyexplained.com, Easter Sunday is still remain as the biggest moment of all – where Christians are gathered around St. Peter square to attend Easter Mass. Of course, the festivity of Easter in Italy doesn’t stop here, because on the next day people will also celebrate what is known as ‘Pasquetta’ or ‘Easter Monday.’ The most common tradition during Pasquetta is going out for a picnic with friends and family. During Pasquetta, people will not only have a nice meal by the park, but they will also play some fun little games which involves Easter’s symbol, eggs.
Easter celebrations in Germany is said to be one of the most interesting of all. Not only known for its traditional Sunday Mass, egg hunting, and family gathering, Easter in Germany is also known as a festive four-day event for the locals. The celebration usually begins on Friday, where the church bells will go silent in remembrance of Jesus’ crucifixion. On Sunday, people will attend Sunday Mass, followed by other activities such as having a big meal with friends and family, visiting Easter Street Market, and of course hunting for some colorful Easter eggs. The following day will be the day where people go out to join a parade to remember the walk Jesus made, which then led to his crucifixion. What makes Easter in Germany feels a bit more special is the fact that Easter Bunny, which is known to be the symbol of Easter, was originated from this country. A German physician and botanist named Georg Franck von Franckenau mentioned that there was a tradition in Alsace region where children will seek for hidden eggs in open fields or meadows frantically. Thus, this activity was often made rabbits feel frightened. Many years later, people made a connection between rabbit and egg hunting – thus Easter symbols were born.
Photo credit: Sakis Mitrolidis/AFP/Getty Images
The eternal beauty of Greece becomes one of the main reasons if why the Easter celebration in this country seems even more alluring – not only for locals but also tourists. Known to be the country with many exceptional historical landmarks and ancient ruins, it is no surprise that Greece has a lot to offer during this religious holiday. According to discovergreece.com, there are three regions which have been recognized as places where Easter is celebrated in a full festivity. The first one is Corfu, a place where a unique tradition called “botides” is being held every year. During botides, people will throw clay jars from their balconies onto the street. Many locals believe that this tradition can help them to repel bad spirits and bring good luck. In other regions like Ermoupoli, the main town will be illuminated by candles and lights – thus bringing out the holiness of Good Friday even more. As in Patmos region, tourists will visit a famous religious site called Cave of the Apocalypse, a place where St. John the Divine received his visions from Christ.
Photo credit: xplorea.com
With as many as 24 million people who are practicing Christianity, it is no surprise if Easter is also considered as one of the most important events in this country. From Sabang to Marauke, people are excited to celebrate Easter with their own unique twist. Take ‘Memento Mori’ in Central of Borneo, where families will gather after Easter Mass for a pilgrimage. In East Flores, the locals are celebrating Easter with a tradition called ‘Semana Santa’ which consists of four rituals in four consecutive days. They will also perform a ritual which led by a well-respected figure, where the statue of Virgin Mary will be bathed and worn in black, purple, or blue velvet suite. As in Tana Toraja, which is located eight hours away from the capital of South Sulawesi, Makassar, the locals will release hundreds of lanterns after Easter Mass. Not only that, other fun and exciting activities such as torch relay and egg hunting are also become the main staple of Easter in Tana Toraja.
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