Easter Celebrations – What It Is About In Different Countries?

From the pope leading the Good Friday service in the Vatican, to children hunting for eggs in the U.S. Easter is celebrated in many different ways around the world. Most of the celebrations relate to symbolism of fertility while in some countries the celebrations are about welcoming the spring season. In Central and Eastern Europe men playfully whip the bottom of women with a willow whip, in Finland children dress up as cute little witches and go asking for chocolate eggs in the streets while in Norway they read thrillers during Easter. Whatever the way, a celebration is a celebration and welcome at any time.

Easter for Christians, is one of the major holidays – it’s the reminder of the resurrection of Jesus. Service is held for the Easter Vigil in all churches and major focus is on the service held by the pope in the Vatican. The priest in the churches blesses Easter eggs during the event.

Easter vigil mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica on Holy Saturday. Vatican City, 19 April 2014.

The egg is a symbol of rebirth and therefore plays an important role in the Easter Egg hunt. This is a playful game for children who compete during the search for who finds the most eggs. Although a game now, the origin goes back to hiding the eggs in difficult places including among thorns as a reminder of the sufferings of Jesus. 

Egg hunting typical in the U.S.

Whipping women with the willow whip is typical tradition of central Europe. Although it sounds like a cruel habit and a certain number of men also interpret it as their yearly legitimate revenge to their partner, the origin has far better explanation. The whipping is really just touching and the contact of young willow wicker with women is meant as transfering the powerfull spring energy into them. Simply said, it means wishing them good health.

Whiping women with a willow whip – Central European Easter tradition

Children in Finland dress up as little witches who  knock on doors and cast a good spell on the houses, where they ask for sweets.

Easter traditional celebration in Finland

For Christians Easter eggs symbolise the empty tomb of Jesus. Originally the eggs were dyed with red colour symbolising the blood of Jesus. Nevertheless the decorating of Easter eggs with different designs got adopted all over the world.

Painted Easter eggs – a tradition in many countries

Pouring water at girls in some countries, such as Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia) is the alternative to whipping them with a willow whip.

Young people spray water on one another on  Clean Monday (or Wet Monday) in Ukraine

The origin of the folk Florence tradition “Scoppio del Carro” goes back to pagans and the meaning is to ensure a great harvest.  This got adopted by Christianity. The show consists of a very noisy display of fireworks.

Lighted “Scoppio del Carro” (Fire carriage) is an annual easter parade celebration in Florence, Italy

The origin of Saalfeld Easter egg tree is unknown, but it can be interpreted from the typical symbols of egg and tree as symbols of life. Any which way, the final picture is really beautiful.

Famous Saalfeld Easter egg tree in Germany

Celebration of Orthodox Easter (Midnight Office of Pascha) Holy Saturday in Athens, Greece

Photos: Shutterstock

Support us!

All your donations will be used to pay the magazine’s journalists and to support the ongoing costs of maintaining the site.


paypal smart payment button for simple membership

Share this post

Interested in co-operating with us?

We are open to co-operation from writers and businesses alike. You can reach us on our email at cooperations@youth-time.eu/magazine@youth-time.eu and we will get back to you as quick as we can.

Where to next?