17 Surprising Easter Traditions that you NEED to know

Last Updated on April 6, 2021

Each Christian country has its own Easter traditions. I’ve found interesting ways that people celebrate resurrection of Christ and new life around the world. Let’s virtually travel to 17 countries to discover Easter traditions and delicious food as well. I bet you don’t know all of them!

The remembrance and celebration lasts for a week in most of the countries that celebrate Easter. I decided to share with you one tradition from each country that is interesting, surprising or unexpected.

I will share the name of traditional Easter food from each country. So when you travel to one of these destinations, you can use it as a guide!

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Easter traditions around the world that you need to know. Each Christian country has its own Easter traditions! Fin out their traditional Easter food and a surprising tradition.

ITALY

Scoppio del Carro or “explosion of the cart” or an old folk Easter tradition that every year takes place in Florence on an Holy Sunday. It is a firework show that starts with an Easter parade.

People, dressed in Medieval closes with flags and drums, pull a tall antique cart through the streets of Florence. The explosion start in front of the Cathedral under the ringing of the bells and “Gloria” song.

The Archbishop ignites the cart with the Holy Spirit rocket, shaped like a dove. The smooth and beautiful fire show ensures a good harvest and good luck for this year.

Scoppio del Carro or “explosion of the cart”
Scoppio del Carro or “explosion of the cart”, photo from thistuscanlife.com

Traditional Easter food in Italy:

GERMANY

German decorate their homes with Osterbaum or Easter tree. Usually it is made with willow branches and decorated with colored blown eggs that have ornaments on them, as well as ribbons and little wreaths.

People also decorate live trees in the yards. The most popular Osterbaum, decorated with more than 10 000 eggs is located in Saalfeld.

Check this post on how to make a DIY Pom Pom Tree.

Since the early 20th century it also became a beloved Easter Tradition to decorate public wells in small villages and cities.
People from the village gather to wave colored eggs and ribbons together in the shape of a grown to form their “Osterbrunnen” (Easter well or Easter fountain).
As Easter is a symbol of renewed life, this tradition honors water which is essential for the existence of people and animals!
Easter decoration in Egloffstein

Traditional Easter food in Germany:

Easter egg decorating is a very old tradition, started among the early Christians in Mesopotamia.

BRAZIL

Pascoa is a very important event in Brazil. But maybe the most epic place in the country is the small town of Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais. The main street of 3 km between two churches is lined with the carpet of flowers.

Locals are working at night before Easter, covering the street with flower petals, wood chips, sand, leather remnants in different patterns. The prevalent color chosen for Easter is usually Purple.

On the Sunday morning people dress up in costumes and follow the procession through the street. Beautiful Easter tradition!

Traditional Easter food in Brazil:

  • Pacoca de Amendoim – candy, made with cassava flour, peanuts, sugar and salt
  • Bacalhau – salted cod, served with rice and potatoes

RUSSIA

In Slavic culture there is a tradition of whipping each other with willow twigs on the Sunday, a week before the Easter. It is believed this brings the health. These traditions are quite spread also in Ukraine, Czech Republic (pomlázka), Slovakia (korbáč), Croatia, Belarus.

So if someone stabs you with a willow on Sunday, it is only to wish you health!

However in most regions of Russia, willow bouquets are blessed in church and then brought to home. As in most parts of the world, Easter is a family celebration, where people share great food with each other and play games like rolling eggs.

willow and colored eggs

Traditional Easter food in Russia:

On the Easter Sunday people carry the prepared food, colored eggs (that symbolize rebirth) and even sweet red wine (that is a symbol of Christ blood) to church, where it is blessed with prayers and holy water.

SLOVAKIA

Not only willow twigs, but also water is involved. On Easter Monday or Velka Noc young men go around the village houses, where single girls live and sprinkle them with water. Well, maybe not only sprinkle, but give a good splash of water that is called oblievačka. The girls then pay their turn on Tuesday. Fun bucket challenge!

So if you stay dry during the Easter in Slovakia, I guess you’re not pretty enough! Oh, and this water game is also popular in Poland. It is good to know this Easter tradition before traveling to these countries!

Traditional Easter food in Slovakia:

You should also see Easter in Prague, neibghour country – Czech Republic. You need to taste their Trdelnik walnut cinnamon pastry!

GREECE

In the beautiful island of Corfu people are welcoming the spring by throwing unnecessary things trough the windows.

You should be careful by going in the streets during the Holy Saturday, as the pots are hurled and nosily crashed on your way, accompanied by the loudly bell rings and joyful sounds.

It is such fun Easter tradition in Corfu! I wonder who cleans the street?

Traditional Easter food in Greece:

  • Tsoureki – Easter bread
  • Matiritsa – a soup with lamb and greens
  • Koulourakia – Easter sweet biscuits
Tsoureki Greek Easter bread
Tsoureki Greek Easter bread by carolinescooking.com

By the way, Ortodox people greet each other with “Chist is risen!” and the other person should answer “He is truly risen”.

BULGARIA

Lazaruvane – a tradition on the Saturday evening before Easter, when a group of young girls, dressed like brides, go to different homes to make “lazari” or sing songs. In response home owners gift them raw eggs and coins.

Girls put the gifts in the Easter baskets and divide all good thing equally.

Traditional Easter food in Bulgaria:

CYPRUS

This country is the birth place of Lazarus. A path to Easter or Pascha begins on Lazarus Saturday. In old traditions kids with olive and palm branches in their hands went to every home in the city, singing the songs. One of the kids was dressed like Lazarus with red and yellow daisies.

Nowadays Cypriots on the Palm Sunday or Easter morning take to church olive branches in the remembrance of the day, when the same branches were carried by the crowd, welcoming the Christ.

Traditional Easter food in Cyprus:

  • Souvla – large pieces of lamb, cooked on a fire
  • Avkotes – bagels, decorated with eggs
  • Flaounes – cheese pie with raisins

ISRAEL

For Jews, the Holy week means Passover or Pessach. While Passover is different holiday for Jewish people, Israel is a holy land for Christians. Usually thousands of pilgrims visit the Jerusalem, where the Christ died and rose again.

On the Palm Sunday procession of people, holding the crosses repeat the path of the Jesus with songs and blessings. They stop at 14 station, commemorating Jesus’s last days.

differences between passover and easter Created by GiftBasketsOverseas.com.

Traditional Passover food in Israel:

  • Hraime – fish (usually halibut or grouper) in a spicy sauce
  • Charoset – fruit paste
  • Matzah bread

AUSTRALIA

You must visit the Royal Easter Show, one of the most spectacular Easter traditions that takes place in Sydney. It is held every year starting in 1823.

It is a celebration of Australian culture and rural traditions. There are different animal competitions among the dogs, pigs and even alpacas. You can enjoy showjumping, wood-chopping and sawing, arts and crafts classes and competitions, as well as carnival and shopping. So much fun for little ones!

Traditional Easter food in Australia:

  • Chocolate Easter Bilby (instead of Easter bunny)
  • Pavlova – meringue cake
Pavlova with raspberries
Pavlova with raspberries by carolinescooking.com

Egg tapping is the popular tradition among all the countries, traditional Easter game.

MEXICO

One of the most spectacular is the act of burning and exploding Judas that are made out of cardboard. This tradition came from Spanish Colony, and is called La quema de Judas. It became very popular in the 19th century.

Burning Judas in main squares in Mexico is a symbol of purifying the soul of participants, going away from all evil things, including corruption and betrayal.

Traditional Easter food in Mexico:

Capirotada with sprinkles
Capirotada (or Mexican Bread Pudding) by inmamamaggieskitchen.com

Most Easter traditions around the world involve firework, bonfires or at least lighting a candle. It is a symbol of His presence.

GREAT BRITAIN

Hop-egg or dancing with eggs is a fun game, when eggs are laid on the ground or floor. The person or pair needs to dance among the eggs, damaging as few as possible. The name of the dance is given by the form that it resembles – hopping. Some of the eggs on the floor are boiled, some – raw, many of them are colored.

Many dancers are dressed and blindfolded, which makes a egg-sellent show and competition! This tradition is actually brought from Netherlands.

It is not widespread nowadays, but Easter egg roll is a very popular game to play. Egg dancing can be combined with other tradition – Morris folk dance.

Easter egg roll
Easter egg roll by redtedart.com

Traditional Easter food in Great Britain:

USA

Easter parade in New York is an Easter tradition with the roots from 1860s, involving fashion. It is truly a combination and celebration of religion and fashion. People from around the world come to participate in the parade, dressing them selves (and their pets, too) in unique Easter costumes and bonnets. Some of these are outrageous and extraordinary. The place is flooded with creativity!

This parade is not an organized event. People just come and celebrate the spring, stop any time they want! You can expect bird cages, rabbits, tons of flowers, eggs and carrots. Similar Easter parades take place also in other cities of USA. This is one of the most creative Easter traditions!

Easter Parade in USA
Easter Parade in USA by twotravelingtexans.com

Traditional Easter food in USA:

FINLAND

Besides church events and bonfires in villages, Finnish children dress like witches in colorful old clothes and painted freckles on their faces.

They go around the village and bring willow twigs, decorated with feather and crepe paper, in return for the treats (chocolate eggs). It is believed that willow brings good spirit in the home.

Find out more about Finland and 6 Funny Finnish Easter traditions.

Easter witch look girl
Easter witch look by herfinland.com

Traditional Easter food in Finland:

  • Mämmi – Dark brown pudding, made with malt and rye flour
  • Roast lamb

ARGENTINA

According to the CIA Fact-book, roughly 92% of all Argentinians are Catholic. I think that is the reason there is Tierra Santa in Buenos Aires – the first religious theme park in the world.

The park recreates 37 most important moment of the Bible. There are skilled performs during the Easter, reenacting the events happened with Jesus.

Traditional Easter food in Argentina:

  • Rosca de Pascua – bread ring, topped with candied fruits, chocolate or pastry cream and sprinkles.
  • Torta Pasqualina – salty pie with herbs and eggs, made with 33 layers of phylo pastry (Italian recipe that is also popular in Argentina)
  • Empanadas de Vigilia

FRANCE

In France, instead of Easter bunnies, the bells or Les Cloches bring the eggs. Church bells disappear and stay silent for a week. Then they are back, blessed by Pope and flying from Rome.

And every child knows the bells are delivering the start of the hunt for chocolate eggs!

Traditional Easter food in France:

  • Pâté de Pâques Berrichon – meat terrine with an egg in the center, packed in a buttery crust
  • Petits Nids de Pâque – bird nests made from almond cake
  • Gigot d’Agneau – roasted leg of lamb with herbs

SPAIN

During the Holy week in Galicia and other regions of Spain, there is a procession, carrying the statues of Christ and other saint, flowers. People in the procession, wearing habits, capirotes or pointed hats and holding candles, are called capuchones. Usually the procession is accompanied by music.

They remove capirotes on Sunday to celebrate His resurrection.

Traditional Easter food in Spain:

  • La Mona de Pascua – Easter cake with marzipan, decorated with eggs
  • Spanish torrija – French toast, soaked in wine
  • Potaje de Vigilia – meatless stew

Easter Traditions Around the World

There are so many more Easter traditions in other countries!

Do you know interesting one that I didn’t mention?

What are your family Easter traditions?

Let us know in the comment bellow, we’d like to know!

 

References: Visitflorence, Itinari, Chooseyourcyprus, Igoogledisrael,Kashtite, Germangirlinamerica, Volkermichael, Welcometobratislava, Completefrance, Thelocal, Eastershow, Gojont, Mexican-folk-art-guide,
Fulwoodmethodist, Rove.me, Dailymail-1, Finland, Dailymail-2, RBTH

You should check our collection of 70+ Brilliant Easter Brunch Ideas!

12 thoughts on “17 Surprising Easter Traditions that you NEED to know”

      1. Please look more in depth on some of the information stated. The Israel Easter customs are a mix up of Christian and Jewish customs and minimize the latter. It’s offensive at best. Please update or remove.

        1. Thank you for sharing your opinion. I had a more in depth view on the blog post. This is my take on Easter traditions, so I couldn’t forget to mention Israel – a land that is so important to all Christians, and where two great faiths of Judaism and Christianity meet. I added an infographics that explains the differences between holy week for Christians and holy week for Jews. I didn’t want to be offensive in any way, and I think that people, who read this blog are educated enough to see the difference between traditions & culture of native people and traditional celebration in particular country.

  1. Kate - Gluten Free Alchemist

    What a fascinating post. It seems that Easter traditions are incredibly varied around the world, but I love how everywhere has developed their own spin on this very international celebration.
    Thank you so much for linking to my Simnel Cake too. It’s very much appreciated x

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