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As Easter approaches, communities around the world are preparing to celebrate this joyous holiday in their own unique ways. From colorful parades to traditional feasts, Easter traditions offer a fascinating glimpse into the diverse cultures and customs that make our world so vibrant. Here are some of the most interesting Easter traditions from around the globe.

Spain: Semana Santa and the Passion of the Christ

In Spain, Easter is celebrated with great intensity during Semana Santa, or Holy Week. Elaborate processions fill the streets as participants reenact the Passion of the Christ, carrying religious statues through the city. The streets come alive with the sounds of music and prayers as locals and visitors gather to witness this beautiful spectacle.

Greece: Midnight Mass and the Resurrection

In Greece, Easter is a time of solemn reflection and joyous celebration. The highlight of the Easter weekend is the midnight mass on Holy Saturday, where worshippers gather to commemorate the Resurrection of Christ. The church bells ring out at midnight, signaling the arrival of Easter Sunday and the triumphant victory over death.

Italy: La Pasquetta and the Feast of Spring

In Italy, Easter is not just a one-day affair but a week-long celebration known as La Settimana Santa. On Easter Monday, or La Pasquetta, families and friends gather for picnics and outdoor festivities to welcome the arrival of spring. The tables are full of delicious Italian delicacies, and laughter fills the air as people enjoy each other’s company amidst the beauty of nature.

United States: Easter Egg Hunts and Spring Festivities

In the United States, Easter is synonymous with colorful Easter egg hunts, Easter bunnies, and festive spring decorations. Families come together to hide and hunt for Easter eggs, symbolizing the joy of new life and renewal. Children await the Easter Bunny’s arrival, and communities host parades and festivals to celebrate the arrival of spring.

Poland: Święconka and the Blessing of Easter Baskets

In Poland, Easter Sunday begins with Święconka, the blessing of Easter baskets filled with symbolic foods such as bread, eggs, and sausage. This ancient tradition dates back centuries and is a cherished part of Polish Easter celebrations. Families gather at church to have their baskets blessed by the priest, symbolizing the sharing of Christ’s blessings with loved ones.

Brazil: Festa de Páscoa and the Festival of Easter

In Brazil, Easter is celebrated with vibrant street festivals, music, and dance. The Festa de Páscoa, or Festival of Easter, brings communities together to rejoice in the spirit of renewal and rebirth. Colorful decorations decorate the streets, and samba music fills the air as people dance and celebrate the joy of Easter.

UK: Hot Cross Buns  

Hot cross buns are yeast buns, made with raisins and cinnamon, marked with a cross on the top. How did these sweet, spicy, and fruity goodies become an Easter tradition Whilst nobody is sure of the exact origin of hot cross buns, it is thought that a monk at St. Alban’s Abbey in England, developed the recipe in the 14th century. He named them the Alban Buns and distributed them to the poor locals living around the abbey on Good Friday. Every part of the bun is symbolic. The cross symbolizes the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices represent the spices that were used to embalm Jesus’s body after his death.  

There are many superstitions associated with hot cross buns. It was believed that the cross on the bun protected people from evil spirits–this is why bakers hung them in their homes. Another belief was that Buns baked on Good Friday would not grow mouldy for an entire year! Why don’t you try baking them? Here is an easy recipe for you. 

As we celebrate Easter this year, let’s take a moment to appreciate the rich tapestry of traditions that unite us across cultures and continents. Whether you’re attending a solemn procession in Spain, enjoying a picnic in Italy, or hunting for Easter eggs in your backyard, may this season be filled with joy, hope, and the promise of new beginnings. Happy Easter from all of us at Cornerstone!

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