Easter traditions are different all over the world, here are a few that we thought would be fantastic to go and see:
Easter is the highlight of the year in Antigua, with over a million visitors descending upon the UNESCO town for Holy Week. The streets become packed with people waiting to enjoy the processions. The Spanish brought the Catholic celebration of Holy Week to Guatemala in 1524 however it has now been mixed with indigenous traditions to make it a very unique experience. Along the route of the processions are amazing, vibrant rugs usually made from dyed sawdust but it is becoming more common for flowers, rice, fruit and coloured earth to be used as well. This video gives you a feel for the celebration.
Similar to Guatemala in that the Holy Week traditions date back to the 16th Century, Alghero on the Italian island of Sardinia also attracts people from all over the world. Throughout Holy Week they reenact the end of Christ’s life characterised by a strong Catalan influence. The most solemn moment is the “Mystery”, the moment when the nails are removed from Christ’s hands and feet, then the statue is placed in a coffin and carried in procession. After the seriousness of the “Mystery”, spirits are lifted and the celebration of the Resurrection begins; the crowds will clap, play music and throw flowers while wishing each other Happy Easter. When the festivities have come to a close people will return home to have a meal together as a family.
Easter coincidences with the start of Spring, in celebration of this locals participate in the annual Pot Throwing on the Saturday before Easter Sunday. This tradition is supposed to symbolise that new crops will be placed within the new pots however there is much speculation as to why it really began and if there is any religious significance surrounding it. On Good Friday people are awoken by mourning bells ringing from the Churches while young girls decorate the Epitaphs in preparation for their circumambulation of the town.
Easter in Ethiopia is known as Fasika and is celebrated around one to two weeks after Easter in the Western calendar. Easter is not a fixed event but a movable feast. During Lent, (the weeks running up to Easter) many Ethiopians will avoid any animal products such as meat, eggs, butter, milk, yogurt, cream and cheese until they have attended the Easter Eve Service, then they will return home and eat together as family breaking this fast. On Easter Sunday everyone will attend the Church service dressed in traditional white robes called habesha dress.
In the South West of France is a tiny town called Bessières now famous across the world all thanks to it’s giant Easter omelette cooked every year on Easter Monday. The origins of the enormous omelette began when Napoleon was travelling through the town and decided to stop for the night. He was so delighted by the omelette that he was served for supper that he requested that the next morning it was cooked for his entire regiment. Nowadays over 10,000 people gather to view the 15,000 egg omelette be cooked by the Worldwide Brotherhood of Knights of the Giant Omelette in a large 14 metre pan. It takes 90 minutes to break all of the eggs and around half an hour to cook it along with duck fat, salt and local d’Espelette pepper.
Let us know if you would like us to arrange travel to any of these eclectic events.