Fascinating Easter traditions from around the world

Every Good Friday several men in the Philippines are nailed to a cross in a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ to atone for sins or seek divine intercession. [AFP]
Christians around the world are celebrating Easter this weekend, a reflection on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The revered celebrations are the culmination of the Holy Week which begins with Palm Sunday and ends on Holy Saturday, but each day in between comes with its own name and celebrations.

Good Friday which was celebrated yesterday this year marks the day Jesus died on the cross. Many observed the day by fasting and attending church services.

Tomorrow, Easter Sunday will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It will also mark the end of the 40-day period of penance called Lent.

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Unknown to many, not all Easter customs are Christian; some, such as the Easter Bunny, are pagan in origin. Just how is Easter marked around the world?

Kenya

Nyeri Catholic Archbishop Antony Muheria carries a cross as led other faithful in a religious procession to Our Lady of Constanta Cathedral in Nyeri yesterday. [Kibati Kihu, Standard]
With eight in 10 Kenyans being Christians, the festivities are majorly marked with street processions to emulate the occasions that preceded the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Away from the churches, Kenyans visit their families in upcountry and flock holiday joints during the break.

Egypt

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Easter is marked during a festival called Sham El Nessim (“Smelling of the breeze”) by both Christians and Muslims alike. Easter Monday is a national holiday rather than just a religious one, just like kunya.  

Hungary

The European nation famed for its thermal springs marks Easter with a tradition of ‘sprinkling’. Boys often sprinkle perfume, cologne or water over a lady’s head, and ask for a kiss. According to the locals, water has a cleaning, healing and fertility-inducing effect.

Ukraine

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Just like Hungary, they have a ‘Wet Monday’. They throw water over each other in a tradition connected with the baptism of Polish Prince hundreds of years ago.

South Africa

The country in 1955 renamed the day to ‘Family Day’ and is celebrated by spending time with your family and friends.

According to slideplayer.com, a typical menu for the day includes a seasoned Lamb or Pork Yams Rooibos Tea Mealie Bread (corn bread).  

Sweden

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In a celebration that might be mistaken for Halloween, children dress up as Easter witches with long skirts, colourful headscarves and painted cheeks.

England

Here, they celebrate the festivities by exchanging Easter Eggs and other gifts like clothes, chocolates or holidays packages. An Easter egg can be an artificial chocolate egg or decorated hard-boiled egg.

USA

The President will tomorrow host the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn. It involves children rolling a coloured hard-boiled egg with a large serving spoon.

France

Known as Pâques, the French celebrate it with a lot of enthusiasm and zeal. According to travel blog ytravelblog.com, a giant omelette is made in the town Haux with 4,500 eggs to feed 1,000 people served in the town’s main square.

Also, the French mourn the crucifixion of Christ by not ringing church bells for three days.

Greece

According to BBC, in the Greek island of Corfu, old pots are thrown out of the windows on to the streets as an Easter Saturday morning tradition.

It's thought the tradition was copied from the people of Venice, in Italy, who throw out their possessions.

How do you celebrate Easter? Share with us on [email protected]

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