Five unique Easter festivals around the world….

Easter’s roots connect to pre-christian rituals and beliefs.

Easter, (Pascha in Latin, Pascha in Greek), is the principal festival of the Christian church which celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his Crucifixion, which completely left everyone in disbelief.

The earliest recorded observance of an Easter celebration comes from the second century, though the commemoration of Jesus’ Resurrection probably occurred earlier.

In the 20th century, several attempts were made to arrive at a fixed date for Easter, with the Sunday following the second Saturday in April specifically proposed. While this proposal and others had many supporters, none came to fruition. Renewed interest in a fixed date arose in the early 21st century, resulting from discussions involving the leaders of Eastern Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, Coptic, Anglican, and Roman Catholic churches, but formal agreement on such a date remained elusive.

The story gets more interesting with a twist. Every so often, thanks to religious fervour, or simply the relentless creativity of the human spirit, certain people around the world decided to do something a little different for Easter.

Here are five unique ways people celebrate Easter.


Celebrations begin during the last week of Lent, and it is marked by huge and elaborate religious processions in nearly every single town and village across the country.

People parade through the streets in costumes or in hooded robes, carrying intricate religious floats depicting different scenes from the bible, while often accompanied by live music. Some of the most well-known take place in Zamora, Valladolid, Seville, and Granada.

Treats such as torrija (pretty similar to French toast), and cakes are all popular around this time as well.


Many of France’s Easter customs stem from Catholic tradition and one of such tradition dictates that church bells stop ringing around Easter as a mark of respect for Jesus’ death, and to explain their silence children are told the bells have flown to Rome to be blessed by the Pope.

On the morning of Easter Sunday – Jesus’ resurrection – the bells then fly back to France loaded with sweet treats which they drop into gardens for the children. Once they are back in their steeples they then start ringing joyfully again.

Once the bells have begun to ring, the Easter egg hunt – or “chasse aux oeufs” – begins. In the town of Bessières, thousands of people gather on the “Monday morning” to make a giant omelette, usually consisting of 15,000 eggs and 40 cooks.


Good Friday and Easter Monday are both public holidays in Germany, and they celebrate by lighting bonfires around sunset on Holy Saturday.

Some places have turned the “osterfeuer” (Easter bonfire) into mini-festivals with stands selling sausages, wine, and funfair rides while other communities stuff huge bales of straw into a wooden wheel, set it on fire and roll it down a hill (known as the Osterrad).

It is also traditional in Germany to eat something green on Maundy Thursday, which is called Gründonnerstag – or “green Thursday”. Spiced, sweet bread, enriched with eggs and dairy and dotted with almonds, and candied peel raisins are also popular during Easter for breakfast and afternoon tea.

Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia:

Across central and Eastern Europe an ancient tradition exists which sees people try to drench each other with buckets of water, usually men soaking the women, on Easter Monday. Known as Smigus-dyngus (Wet Monday) in Poland, Watering Monday in Ukraine, Watering in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and Sprinkling in Hungary, the ritual is supposedly based around womens’ fertility, with the water having a cleansing effect in an effort to make them healthy for the upcoming spring.

In Hungary, participants will often dress up in folk costumes and the men will douse the women with buckets of water or perfume. In Poland, traditionally the women get soaked but today it has become more of a country-wide water fight. 


Among the most unique of these festivals is a traditional, tribal gathering in Zambia known as Shimunenga. Primarily celebrated by the Ba Ila people, it is an opportunity to feast, sing, dance, and drink. The village of Maala is where an ancestral great warrior, Shimunenga, is believed to have been buried. The main event is a cattle drive and spear charge past the ceremonial site to appease Shimunenga ahead of the rainy season. In recent years, Zambia’s leadership has emphasised the event’s importance in learning from and embracing Zambia’s cultural diversity.

Whether the rites are exactly as celebrated as followers of Christ or a bit out of fashion, embracing the spirit of the season and living a sacrificial life that is worth emulating is what matters the most.

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