The Easter holidays may find you away from your native land, probably on a business trip, which happens quite frequently if you are an interpreter. This is why it is good to know the different specific traditions and customs around the world that may really surprise you.
For example, you will not hear the bells toll in France on any of the three Easter days, because the legend says they have gone to Rome to be blessed. Upon returning to France precisely on the Easter Sunday, the bells drop chocolate eggs, chicks and bunnies in people’s gardens.
In Germany too, children search the gardens for the baskets full of chocolate eggs and other sweet goodies hidden there by their parents.
Greek traditions are similar to the Romanian ones. Believers attend the Resurrection Service and receive light, crack eggs, and greet each other with the formula “Christos Anesti!” (Christ is Risen!), the traditional response being “Alighos Anesti!” (Indeed, He is Risen!). Moreover, on Good Friday, Greeks bring the epitaph – the tomb of Christ – out of the church to lead a candlelight procession through the streets of Athens.
If you are in Russia and are given a nail on Easter day, do not panic! Their habit is to break red eggs with a nail symbolizing Christ’s crucifixion.
If you come across a group of child beggars, you are in Finland for sure. Here, on Easter Eve, children with their faces painted with soot from the huge fires lit by their parents go through the streets and beg.
In Argentina, you will receive a Rosca de Pascua, a specific Easter cake, while in Lebanon you will have the opportunity to savor the Maamoul, a delicious cookie-like pastry made of semolina and butter, filled with caramelized nuts and dusted with icing sugar.
If you go to Poland, do not offer to help the hostess to prepare all the Easter goodies! According to a Polish superstition, men are not allowed to help because the cake will not rise or the ladies’ hair will grow grey like the men’s mustaches.
Anywhere you go for Easter, you will find red eggs, families gathered around the table, people bound together by feelings of faith, goodness and kindness.