Egg hunting, bunnies, and baskets full of candy – it’s that time of the year again. While these traditions are well known in North America, what does Easter mean for different countries around the world? And how do you say Happy Easter in five different languages?
Spain – Felices Pascuas
Easter is known as Semana Santa which means Holy Week in English. It is the biggest religious celebration of the year, and it includes a great deal of eating and drinking. Parades crowd the streets replicating the day of crucifixion, and Spaniards enjoy some time off work to spend with families and friends.
Indonesia – Selamat Hari Paskah
Portuguese missionaries brought Christianity to Indonesia, which is primarily a Muslim country. While Easter is celebrated mainly among Christians (10% of the population), Good Friday is a day-off for all. Re-enacting the crucifixion is a ceremony that mixes Filipino folk tradition with Christian devotion, and it is considered an honor to be tied to the cross like Jesus was.
Czech Republic – Veselé Velikonoce
On Easter Monday, a rather unusual tradition is carried out. Men playfully spank women with handmade, ribbon-decorated whips made of pussywillow twigs. Pomlázka means whip in English, and it has become the name of this tradition itself. It is believed that being spanked with a whip will bring health, beauty, and fertility during the next year.
Norway – God Påske
It is a holiday which many Norwegians look forward to after a long winter period of darkness. In fact, they have the longest Easter holiday in the world. Shops and work places are closed over Mandy Thursday (skjærtorsdag), Good Friday (langfredag), and the Monday following Easter Sunday, known as andre påskedag. Traditions unique to this country include heading out to the mountains enjoying sunshine, skiing, eating oranges and chocolate, as well as reading crime stories and detective novels.
Brazil – Feliz Páscoa
Easter eggs are an important part of the Brazilian celebrations, and can be found a month in advance strung across ceiling aisles inside supermarkets. Milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, with sprinkles, caramel, hazelnuts, raisins, cookies – Chocoholics of the world wouldn’t mind a trip to this country during Easter. They also create straw dolls to illustrate Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, then destroy them in the streets.
We would love to hear about your Easter traditions – leave a comment below!