Easter around the world

2016-03-23 06:00
A global Easter celebration. Photo: sourced

A global Easter celebration. Photo: sourced

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Easter in Brazil

One of the biggest carnivals in the world happens in Rio de Janeiro at the Mardi Gras or Shove Tuesday celebrations to start Lent. The streets are filled, over several days leading up to Shrove Tuesday, with large processions of people marching, singing and dancing.
People taking part in the parade dress up in very bright exotic clothes. Sometimes the costumes are made on large wire structures so the people wearing them look very big, like butterflies or birds.
There are big floats, with stands for singing and dancing on built into cars or lorries that take part in the parade, they are decorated as brightly as the people and help make the procession look amazing!

The Rio carnivals started over 250 years ago when the Portuguese settlers bought form of carnival called 'entrudo' with them. It consisted of people throwing flour and water over each other.
In 1856 the police banned entrudo carnivals because they were becoming violent and lots of people were getting hurt. This is when the carnival, like it is today, started.
From the turn of the 20th century, people started to write fun marching songs to be sung during the carnival processions.
When cars started becoming more widely available, they were made part of the carnival as away of displaying the performers. These grew into the large carnival floats that take part today.

Easter in Ethiopia
During Lent in Ethiopia, Christians don't eat or buy any animal products like meat, eggs, butter, milk, yogurt, cream and cheese.

On Palm Sunday, people wear head bands and rings made of palm leaves with crosses marked on them.

The first Easter Day service actually starts at 8pm on Easter Saturday night and lasts until 3am on Easter Sunday morning.
Most people go to the whole service and wear their best clothes. These are often white and are called 'Yabesha Libs'.
People have candles made of cotton and wax called 'twaf'. At 10pm drummers start playing and accompanying the Priests as they chant a prayer called the 'Geez'. After the service, people go back to their homes have a breakfast to celebrate the end of Lent with a 'dabo' sour-dough bread.
It is traditional that the bread is cut by a priest or by the head man in the family.

The main Easter meal is eaten in the afternoon. The meal normally consists of a sour dough pancake called 'injera' and it is eaten with a mutton or lamb stew called 'beg wot'.
Easter in France

In France, church bells do not ring on Good Friday or Easter Saturday. Sometimes children are told that the bells have gone off to see the Pope.

Boxwood branches are sometimes used instead of palm leaves. They are put over doors in houses to bring good luck to the people in the house.

Easter in Germany
In Germany, at the Palm Sunday service, the Priest sometimes rides to the service on a donkey.

In the German village of Oberammergau, people hold a special Easter play, called a Passion Play, every ten years. They do this as a Thank You to God. In 1633 the village faced being destroyed by the Black death or plaque.
The religious leaders of Oberammergau promised God that they would put on a play praising God every ten years forever if God saved the village. They put a large painting of Jesus on the Cross to show this.
God answered their prayers and saved the village, so the village stage the plays to keep their side of the promise.

The last play performed was in 2000. The Plays are very popular and are booked up for many years in advance with people travelling to them from all over the world.
There is a special theatre in the village where the plays are performed. They are performed every day from May to October and last all day.
The play starts at 9.30 am and continue to 12.15 pm. There is a lunch break until 3pm and them the play resumes and finishes at 6 pm.
Nearly everyone from the village takes part in the play, either as an actor or behind the scenes, making clothes and props or helping to run the Play. People from the village have guests, who come to see the show, staying with them.
But there there are now some big hotels in the village as well! It is certainly a very busy time for the people of Oberammergau.

Easter in Greece

In Greek Orthodox Churches, a tomb is often put in the centre of the Church for the Good Friday Service. People process to the service like they going to a funeral.

A Service is held on the Easter Saturday evening, just before Midnight. Priests give out candles to people in the Church and they are lit at Midnight. Fireworks are also sometimes used to signal that Easter Day has started.

On Easter morning, a soup made of Lambs stomach is sometimes eaten for breakfast! The rest of the lamb is roasted and eaten for the main meal.

A traditional Greek Easter cake is made with Oranges and Almonds in it. It is eaten with a spicy orange sauce poured over it.
Easter in Italy

On Easter Day in Italy, the Pope presides over a very large Mass Service in St Peter's Square in the Vatican City. The service is a place of Pilgrimage to Catholics and is broadcast on Radio and T.V. all over the world.

In the Palm Sunday services and celebrations, Olive Branches are often used instead of Palm leaves.

At the start of Lent, there is a big Mardi Gras festival in Venice.

Easter in the United Kingdom
One of the most famous was of starting Lent, and so the Easter celebrations, in the UK is by holding pancake races. In Minehead the main street used to be closed on the evening of Shrove Tuesday and lots of people took part in the races.
You ran down the road while tossing and trying not to drop your pancake. Sadly, due to very expensive insurance (in case people fell over and hurt themselves) it's not done any more in Minehead.

On Mothering Sunday, which is always the Sunday in the middle of Lent in the UK, special services are held in churches to thank God for mums. Flowers such as daffodils and primroses are often given to mums to say thank you for all the hard work they do. It is also traditional that mums get the day of house work and might even have breakfast in bed.
In old times, when a lot of people had servants, Mother’s Day was when maids and servant could go home and see their parents and especially mothers.
A simnel cake was traditionally made to take home to save the maid's mothers baking for Mothers Day. Simnel cake is still eaten today on Mothers Day.

People who go to church on Palm Sunday, often receive a small cross made of palm leaves blessed by the priest or minister.

One very famous UK Easter tradition is the giving out of 'Maundy Money' by the Queen on Maundy Thursday. Centuries ago it was tradition that the reigning king or queen would wash the feet of a few of poor people, the number of people being the same as the monarch's age. This was to remember that Jesus washed his disciples feet before the Last Supper.

Over the years the tradition has changed.
Now the Queen, carrying a small pomander or bouquet of sweet herbs, gives little purses of money to a few chosen men and women. The coins are special little silver pennies and the purses are made of soft leather and are closed with a drawstring.
The ceremony is held at Westminster Abbey, in London, every other year. In the years when it isn't held at Westminster Abbey, the Queen distributes the Maundy Money at different cathedrals in the country.

In York, traditional Passion Plays are still performed for the public. The plays are often performed in the Old English language they were first performed in during medieval times. You can sometimes understand some words, but a lot of them are completely unrecognisable!

A lot of Churches hold special Good Friday services. Sometimes the congregation is lead to the church by a person or group of people carrying a large wooden cross. This reminds them that Jesus died on a cross on Good Friday.

It is thought to be lucky if you plant your Parsley and Potatoes on Good Friday, the parsley should be planted by a woman! But I don’t think this makes much sense as the date changes every year, so the crops might not grow as well!

Decorating Easter Eggs is a common tradition in the U.K., particularly in the North of England, Scotland, the Isle of Man and Ireland. - Supplied


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