Easter, celebrated in many countries all over the world, is a symbol of nature’s re-birth and has different meanings for each religion. For instance, Catholic Easter could not be celebrated the same day of Orthodox one.
In Italy, as per the Catholic tradition, the “Holy week” begins the previous Sunday: some olive tree twigs are blessed during the mass and they will be changed with relatives and friends, and hold as peace’s symbol.
On Easter morning the eggs are blessed during the mass and they will be eaten after the prayer to start the lunch, which ends opening the chocolate eggs, a very popular Easter present!!
In Romania Easter is a very important holiday. Ladies decorate their houses with laces and precious materials and people buy new clothes to dress on Sunday in order to go to the church and than have lunch with all relatives.
Celebrations begin on Holy Thursday, that here is called “big Thursday”, attending a mass remembering missing relatives and blessing foods and drinks.
The day after, called “dry Friday”, is a day of penitence and fasting, and in some areas of this country, people dive three times in cold water, in order to have health until next year.
On Saturday, women meet and, following cooking traditions, prepare together the Easter banquet, where never miss the coloured eggs.
In the evening people go into the church with a candle, that will be fired on during the mass, brought on procession around the church and finally people will go home following only this candle light.
Another country, which celebrates Easter with the same feeling as on Christmas time, is Spain.
Also here, celebrations here lasts all Holy week long (called Semana Santa) and starts on previous Sunday blessing olive tree or palm twigs, decorated this bright colours, sugar and sweets.
The palm twigs, called “palmons”, can be entire or braided and they are hanged outside the houses in order to send away the wicked spirits. All week long take place processions, spectacular events, street markets, in a magic atmosphere between holy and profane.
On Holy Thursday processions in memory of Christ’s Via Cruces take place on all streets in then main cities, involving everyone.
One of the most famous Spanish city for Easter celebrations is Siviglia, where people dressed in characteristic costumes parade around the city’s streets with typical wood sculptures every day of the Holy week.
Everything ends on Sunday, when families join themselves for the Easter banquet, after attending the morning mass.
To be continued……