Easter Festivities in Europe You Can’t Miss
Easter festivities in Europe vary from country to country and from town to town. It’s one of the most significant and oldest festivals of the Christian Church. Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the tomb.
The celebration date for Easter changes every year. It is typically celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon following the spring equinox. It occurs at different times each year, ranging from late March to late April.
In Christianity, Holy Week is the week before Easter and includes Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. In Europe, many countries celebrate Easter by lighting huge fires that are sometimes called Judas fires. Initially, these bonfires meant to celebrate the arrival of spring. Here is a quick look at how some of your favorite European countries celebrate Easter.
Starting Easter in The Netherlands
In Holland, preparations for Easter begin a day before Lent. This day is known as “Vastenavond” or Fast Eve. During this time, The Netherlands enjoys the most significant surge of foreign tourists who wish to partake in their festivities.
People attend church for Easter services which often follow with a festive meal. Kids go on egg hunts in search of brightly decorated boiled eggs or chocolate eggs. Eiertikken is a favorite Easter game wherein people knock eggs together. The goal of the game is to crack the other person’s egg without breaking yours.
Easter Festivities in France
The French celebrate Easter by attending a special church service, a festive meal, and an Easter egg hunt. You will see shops and bakeries with chocolate rabbits, bells, and signs of spring.
The French also love chocolate eggs, using them widely for children’s Easter egg hunts. The French also have an egg-rolling competition that involves rolling raw eggs down a slope. There’s also a children’s game that involves tossing fresh eggs in the air. The first to break an egg is determined the loser who will give some of their candy to another child.
An interesting Easter tradition in France is the cloches volantes or “flying bells.” No church bells ring between Friday and Easter Sunday morning. It is only after the Easter Sunday church service that the bells ring, celebrating Jesus’ resurrection. France is also known for its crucifixion reenactments.
Easter Festivities in Italy
Easter in Italy is referred to by the Italians as La Pasqua. Unlike the other European countries, you won’t see the Easter rabbit or Easter egg hunts in Italy. This joyous celebration is all about beloved traditions.
Religious processions are held in Italian cities and towns on Friday and Saturday before Easter. On Easter Sunday, expect the food to play a significant role in the celebrations. It’s the tradition for the festivities to include artichokes and Angelino or a roasted baby lamb. Goat is also often served. And people give dove-shaped or crown-shaped bread as gifts.
In Rome, a vigil is held at St. Peter’s Basilica on Holy Saturday. It starts at 9 pm and goes on until midnight as it brings in the start of Easter morning. On Easter Sunday, the most awaited mass begins with the Pope delivering a blessing on the porch.
Because of the Pope and the Vatican, Rome is a destination for Easter festivities in Europe. People come from all over the globe to participate in the celebrations and attend the Vatican Palm Sunday mass. Because it’s free, it can get pretty crowded.
If you’re planning to attend Easter mass in Rome, it’s best to book your tickets early. Book your seats in advance to enjoy the best rates. Because of the popularity of the Easter festivities in cities like Rome, Paris, and Amsterdam, it’s always wise to plan.
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