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How is Easter celebrated around the world?

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How is Easter celebrated around the world?

As the most significant Christian holiday, Easter is celebrated around the world in a myriad of ways, reflecting the rich cultural tapestry of diverse traditions and unique origins. In this article, we’ll embark on a journey to explore the many ways Easter is celebrated worldwide, and discover the fascinating stories behind these diverse traditions.

  1. Vatican City, Italy: The Heart of the Christian World

The epicentre of Catholicism, Vatican City, hosts some of the most solemn and grand Easter celebrations. Thousands of pilgrims and tourists gather in St. Peter’s Square for the Pope’s Easter Mass and the annual “Urbi et Orbi” blessing. The week leading up to Easter, known as Holy Week, is filled with special services, including the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, when a torchlit procession led by the Pope commemorates the Passion of Christ. The rich traditions and historic significance of the Vatican’s Easter celebrations make it a must-visit destination for believers and curious travellers alike.

  1. Jerusalem, Israel: Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus

Jerusalem, the city where Jesus was crucified and resurrected, holds a special place in the hearts of Christians. During Holy Week, Christian pilgrims retrace the steps of Jesus along the Via Dolorosa, the route believed to have been taken by Jesus on his way to Calvary. On Good Friday, the faithful carry wooden crosses, stopping at each of the 14 Stations of the Cross to pray and reflect. Easter Sunday brings joy and jubilation, with worshipers attending the sunrise service at the Garden Tomb, believed to be the site of Jesus’ resurrection. Visiting Jerusalem during Easter is a deeply moving and spiritually enriching experience that brings the biblical story to life.

  1. Seville, Spain: Passionate Processions and Ancient Rituals

In Spain, Semana Santa (Holy Week) is a deeply ingrained tradition, and Seville hosts some of the most elaborate and passionate celebrations. The city comes alive with grand processions featuring ornate floats (pasos) depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ, carried by teams of devoted penitents (costaleros) dressed in traditional hooded robes. Accompanied by sombre marching bands, the processions wind their way through the city streets, drawing large crowds of locals and tourists. The intensity and dedication of the participants make Seville’s Holy Week an unforgettable spectacle.

  1. Corfu, Greece: A Unique Blend of Sacred and Secular

Easter in Corfu showcases the island’s unique blend of Greek Orthodox and Venetian traditions. On Holy Saturday morning, locals gather in the historic Spianada Square to throw clay pots filled with water from balconies – a custom believed to ward off evil spirits and symbolize the new life emerging from the broken pottery. Later, the traditional midnight Resurrection service takes place, followed by the lighting of candles and the joyous pealing of church bells. The pot-throwing custom, combined with the sacred Orthodox rituals, make Corfu a fascinating destination for Easter celebrations.

  1. Oaxaca, Mexico: Vibrant Colors and Cultural Fusion

Mexico’s Easter celebrations are a fusion of indigenous traditions and Spanish Catholic influences, reflecting the country’s rich cultural history. In Oaxaca, the celebrations begin with a Palm Sunday procession featuring vibrant handmade palm decorations, followed by various Holy Week events. On Good Friday, the streets are transformed with intricately designed alfombras, or carpets, made from coloured sawdust, flowers, and other materials. The striking designs depict religious themes and are a testament to the creativity and devotion of the local community. The culmination of Holy Week is the Easter Sunday procession, featuring lively music, dancing, and traditional Mexican cuisine. Oaxaca’s unique blend of cultural influences makes its Easter celebrations a vivid and unforgettable experience.

  1. Antigua, Guatemala: A Tapestry of Art and Faith

Antigua, Guatemala, is renowned for its visually stunning Semana Santa celebrations. Much like in Oaxaca, locals create intricate alfombras, or carpets, along the procession routes. These ephemeral works of art are crafted from colourful sawdust, flowers, fruits, and even vegetables, showcasing the community’s artistic skills and dedication. The processions themselves feature life-sized statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, carried on the shoulders of devoted penitents dressed in vibrant traditional attire. The breathtaking artistry and vibrant atmosphere of Antigua’s Easter celebrations are a testament to the city’s deep-rooted faith and cultural pride.

  1. Florence, Italy: A Fiery Easter Spectacle

In Florence, Easter celebrations take on a unique and fiery form with the Scoppio del Carro, or “Explosion of the Cart.” A centuries-old tradition, this event features a 30-foot-tall, elaborately decorated wooden cart, drawn by white oxen adorned with flowers, parading through the city streets to the Piazza del Duomo. Upon arrival, a dove-shaped rocket (the “Colombina”) is ignited inside the cathedral and flies out to the cart, setting off an impressive fireworks display. The spectacle is believed to ensure a good harvest and good fortune for the city throughout the year. The combination of history, pageantry, and pyrotechnics make Florence’s Scoppio del Carro a one-of-a-kind Easter experience.

  1. Sydney, Australia: A Southern Hemisphere Celebration

In the Southern Hemisphere, Easter falls during the autumn season, providing a unique backdrop for the celebrations. In Sydney, Australia, the annual Sydney Royal Easter Show combines agricultural displays, livestock competitions, and amusement park attractions, creating a festive atmosphere for families to enjoy. On Good Friday, the city also hosts a large-scale reenactment of the Passion of Christ, featuring hundreds of volunteer performers and drawing large crowds. The Sydney Royal Easter Show and the city’s religious observances offer an engaging and family-friendly way to celebrate Easter Down Under.

  1. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Ancient Traditions and Spiritual Fervor

Ethiopia, home to one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, celebrates Easter, or Fasika, with great spiritual fervour. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church observes a 55-day Lenten fast, which ends with a midnight Easter vigil. Worshippers gather at the churches, dressed in traditional white garments, to attend the candlelit service. After the service, families gather to break the fast with a festive meal, featuring injera, doro wat, and other traditional Ethiopian dishes. The ancient traditions and deep spirituality of Ethiopia’s Easter celebrations offer a captivating glimpse into the country’s rich religious heritage.

  1. Prague, Czech Republic: Picturesque Pageantry and Folklore

The Czech Republic celebrates Easter with a mix of religious observance and age-old folk customs. In the picturesque city of Prague, Easter markets pop up in the main squares, offering traditional crafts, painted eggs, and delicious treats. The week leading up to Easter, known as Velikonoční týden, is filled with processions and church services. One unique Czech custom is the playful whipping of women by men with braided willow branches, called pomlázka, symbolizing youth, vitality, and fertility. This lighthearted tradition, combined with the historic charm of Prague, offers a delightful Easter experience steeped in folklore and local customs.

  1. Manila, Philippines: A Blend of Faith and Fanfare

As the only predominantly Christian country in Asia, the Philippines observes Easter with great devotion and fanfare. In Manila, the capital city, Holy Week is marked by elaborate processions, masses, and street plays reenacting the Passion of Christ. On Easter Sunday, the “Salubong” procession takes place, featuring a reenactment of the meeting between the risen Christ and the Virgin Mary, accompanied by music, dance, and the release of doves. The strong faith and vibrant celebrations in Manila create a unique and spirited atmosphere for Easter observance.

  1. Krakow, Poland: Time-Honored Traditions and Culinary Delights

In Poland, Easter celebrations are deeply rooted in family, faith, and tradition. In the historic city of Krakow, Easter Sunday is marked by church attendance and a festive meal featuring żurek (sour rye soup), kielbasa, and babka (a sweet yeasted cake). The following day, known as Śmigus-Dyngus or Wet Monday, locals engage in a playful water fight, dousing each other with water to symbolize cleansing and renewal. In the lead-up to Easter, families prepare intricately decorated eggs, called pisanki, which are exchanged as gifts and used to adorn homes. Krakow’s Easter celebrations offer a warm and inviting glimpse into Polish culture, highlighting the importance of family, faith, and time-honoured traditions.

  1. Cuzco, Peru: A Cultural Mosaic of Andean and Catholic Traditions

In Cuzco, the heart of the former Inca Empire, Easter celebrations blend Andean and Catholic traditions, reflecting the region’s unique cultural history. The week-long Semana Santa festivities feature processions, music, and dance, culminating in a grand procession on Good Friday with the statue of the Lord of the Earthquakes (El Señor de los Temblores), Cuzco’s patron saint. This vibrant event is a powerful reminder of the region’s resilience, as the statue is believed to have protected the city during a devastating earthquake in 1650. The fusion of indigenous and Catholic elements in Cuzco’s Easter celebrations offers a captivating insight into the city’s rich cultural mosaic.

  1. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA: A Jazzy Easter with a Southern Twist

In the melting pot of New Orleans, Easter is celebrated with a uniquely Southern twist. The city’s festivities feature lively parades with jazz bands, colourful floats, and costumed performers, reflecting the vibrant spirit of New Orleans. The historic French Quarter hosts the annual Gay Easter Parade, showcasing elaborate costumes and decorated carriages. For food lovers, New Orleans offers a delightful Easter brunch tradition, featuring Creole and Cajun specialities, such as shrimp and grits, crawfish étouffée, and beignets. The lively atmosphere, musical heritage, and culinary delights of New Orleans make it an unforgettable destination for Easter celebrations.

  1. London, United Kingdom: A Royal Easter Celebration with British Charm

In the United Kingdom, Easter is a time of both religious observance and national pride. London, the vibrant capital city, offers a variety of events and activities that capture the spirit of a quintessentially British Easter. One of the highlights is the annual Easter service held at Westminster Abbey, a historic and iconic symbol of the nation’s religious and royal heritage. For those looking to indulge in a traditional British treat, the city offers ample opportunities to partake in a classic Easter afternoon tea, featuring hot cross buns, simnel cake, and other seasonal delicacies.

Families can also enjoy the Easter Egg Hunt at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where children can search for eggs among the beautiful spring blooms. For a more solemn experience, the Stations of the Cross art exhibition along the Southbank offers a thought-provoking reflection on the Easter story. With its mix of royal pomp, historic landmarks, and charming customs, London provides a captivating backdrop for an Easter celebration infused with British charm.


Easter celebrations around the world showcase a fascinating array of cultural traditions, unique customs, and deeply-rooted religious practices. From the solemn rituals in Vatican City to the vibrant festivities in Oaxaca, each destination offers a distinctive perspective on the universal themes of resurrection and renewal. For travellers, experiencing these diverse Easter celebrations provides not only a deeper understanding of the holiday’s significance but also an enriching cultural immersion. As we journey through these global Easter celebrations, we are reminded of the power of faith and community to unite people across borders and backgrounds in a shared spirit of joy and reflection.