Like all other festivals and holidays, Easter too is celebrated in different fashion in different parts of the world. Many countries of Europe, celebrate Easter by lighting giant bonfires on hilltops and in churchyards on Easter Eve. These giant bonfires are sometimes called Judas fires, because effigies of Judas Iscariot are commonly burned in them. The Easter bonfires predate Christianity and were originally intended to celebrate the arrival of spring. Many countries of Europe like France, Sweden, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands have unique Easter traditions. Find out some of the Easter traditions in various countries of Europe in the following lines.
Easter is called Paques in France. The main celebration sets off on Good Friday with a somber note. To mourn the crucifixion of Christ, church bells are not rung for three days. On Easter morning, children hurry into the garden to watch the bells "Fly back from Rome".
Easter is referred to as Ostern in Germany, the name of the Anglo Saxon goddess of spring, Eostre. The three days, that is Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday are off in Germany. While fish is served on Good Friday, Saturday calls for a big bonfire. Well-decorated eggs are exchanged amongst family and friends on Easter Sunday.
The festival of Easter is termed as La Pasqua by Italians. Easter is celebrated with real fanfare in this country. The Paschal feast is celebrated with Angelino, (a roasted baby lamb) Italy's extraordinary popular dish on the occasion of Easter. Special crown-shaped breads are prepared on the occasion which children relish very much.
Easter is referred to as Pasen or Pasen Zontag in Netherlands. Easter is celebrated as a spring holiday in Netherlands. People decorate and arrange tables for Easter dinner. Sweet bread is an important dish of the Easter feast.
In Sweden, Easter is known as Påskdagen. All across Sweden, the egg features in all Easter food and games. Egg coloring parties, a favorite of virtually every household, are one of the most important activities on this occasion. Young boys and girls participate in egg rolling contests. Bonfires are a part of the Easter traditions in Sweden as well. People gather in large numbers to enjoy these bonfires.
Easter bonfires are one of the most fascinating Easter customs in many European countries.