In Italy, church bells ring during the year. But the bells stop ringing on the Thursday before Good Friday. They are silenced to remind people of the death of Jesus. On Easter Sunday morning, the bells ring out, telling people that Jesus has risen. The sound of the bells tolling bring those who hear it to embrace and kiss in celebration.
Children built nests and place them in in their yards or gardens and find Easter eggs in them on Easter Sunday. The eggs are said to have been bought from Rome where the bell ringing had gone to see the Pope and when the bells returned they bought with them the eggs.
Italians claim to have been said to have been the first to invent chocolate Easter eggs.
In Italy pretzels were originally an Easter food. The twisted shape is supposed to represent arms crossed in prayer.
In Russia Christians go to church late on Easter Saturday night. At midnight they go out and walk around the outside of the church singing songs.
It has been a custom to give friends and family brightly decorated eggs at Easter time, exchanged with the happy saying, “Christ is risen”. Over a hundred years ago a jeweler called Faberge began making beautiful Easter eggs out of gold, silver, diamonds and other precious stones.
Pouring water on one another is a Polish Easter tradition called Smingus-Dyngus. On Easter Monday, boys try to drench other people with buckets of water, squirt guns or anything they can get their hands on. Legend says girls who get soaked will marry within the year. The refreshing tradition has its origins in the baptism of Polish Prince Mieszko on Easter Monday in 966 AD. There is a similar tradition in Hungary
In Ireland, people dance in the streets on Easter Sunday. The dancers compete for the prize of a cake. In Ireland Easter is a very sacred time of fasting and prayer. On Easter Saturday at church hundreds of small candles are lit off the Paschal candle that has been blessed by the priest. On Easter Sunday a quiet meal is eaten at home. Traditional Easter meal of leek soup and roasted spring lamb.
There are some Easter superstitions that remain a part of the modern Swedish society. For instance, Swedes believe that the witches and their black magic are active during the week preceding Easter. It is alleged that witches fly off on brooms, on Maundy Thursday, to harmonize with the devil at a place called blåkulla and return the following Sunday. In Sweden, Easter celebration is incomplete without conventional delicacies, like spring lamb, Strömmingsflundror (stuffed herring) and Laxpudding (salmon gratin). While Swedes attend church prayers and mass on Easter, they also look forward to an extended weekend, which gives them an opportunity for family reunion or a vacation by the beaches.
In Haiti, Holy Week is marked by colorful parades and traditional “rara” music played on bamboo trumpets, maracas, drums, even coffee cans. Easter is a mixture of Catholic and Voodoo traditions. Voodoo believers make an annual pilgrimage to the village of Souvenance. In the photo below devout voodoo believers hold a goat head and other parts, as offerings to the spirits, during a ceremony in Souvenance village, Haiti. Showing devotion to the spirits, the celebration is marked by drumming, chanting and animal sacrifices.
A custom associated with Easter in Germany is the “Easter fire.” For the fire, all Christmas trees are collected and burned in a special place, making a huge fire, clearing away the last signs of the winter and preparing for the spring. Quite German, it is both pleasant and practical.
Where ever your home is this Easter or however you spend your Easter Holiday we wish you peace and joy.
Happy Easter from Clarity Street Realty.