Easter is an important time for Christians – starting with the 40 days of Lent and ending with Holy week and Easter Sunday. But where do some of the traditions we know in the UK come from? And how do other countries mark this special time?
Read below to find out more!
I hope you find this an interesting read – let’s remember to be respectful and open to learning about ALL traditions and cultures.
“Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common…Celebrate it every day”
Pancake Day & Lent:
The ‘Easter’ period starts with Shrove Tuesday, or ‘Pancake Day’ as most of us refer to it.
The tradition of pancake day began as many people would fast or give up foods such as butter, eggs and fat (key ingredients for pancakes) for Lent, and so they would use these all up on Shrove Tuesday before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.
Why Easter EGGS?
Church leaders used to ban the consumption of eggs in Holy week (the week leading up to Easter) – and so any eggs laid that week would be put aside and decorated as gifts to give children. This developed into the giving of chocolate eggs in France & Germany in the 19thcentury.
Rolling our Easter Eggs:
Some families roll their easter eggs down hills on Easter day – me and my sister ‘roll’ ours very aggressively against door frames in the house to crack the eggs into pieces – but where has this come from? (If you’re one of those neat and tidy people who tap it gently against your table to break it open, you’re missing out).
Well – this tradition of rolling the eggs is symbolic of rolling away the stone at Jesus’ tomb where he was resurrected (Easter Sunday) after being crucified (Good Friday).
Other traditions around the World
FOOD FIGHT! The people of Bulgaria get involved in an egg-fight and the winner is the one to finish the fight with an unbroken egg. Traditionally, the winner is said to have good luck and be the most successful in the coming year.
Finland & Sweden
Children dress up as ‘Easter Witches’ wearing colourful headscarves and painted rosy red cheeks, sometimes carrying bunches of decorated willow branches. They knock on neighbours’ doors offering drawings they’ve done in the hope of receiving sweets or chocolate eggs in return.
On Easter Monday in Haux (southern France), a giant omelette is made and served in the town’s market square. The omelette is intended to feed around 1,000 people – made of approximately 4,500 eggs! This tradition is said to date back to when Napoleon came through the town and loved his omelette so much, he demanded the townsfolk gathered all their eggs to make one for his entire army.
The President hosts an Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn on Easter Monday which includes an egg and spoon race with a twist – the egg is rolled along the grass with the spoon (sounds like cheating to me?!) There is usually an egg hunt and other games and crafts for children to get involved with on the day too.
The Netherlands & Belgium
Church bells are silenced for at least Easter Saturday (longer in some places) as a sign of mourning for crucified Jesus. The bells ‘return from Rome’ on Easter Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.
Have a lovely Easter everyone, however you’re spending it!