Whether you are planning on staying home for Easter Weekend, or you have decided to take a few extra days off during the Easter holiday to spend time with the kids, different countries and different cultures have individual ways of celebrating Easter Weekend. Although commonly associated with Christianity, Catholicism and the death and rebirth of Jesus Christ, cultures from around the world celebrate the death and rebirth as well as a number of other, related events in their own way.
Verges in Spain
The Thursday before Easter weekend is known as the night of the ‘dansa de la mort’ in the town of Verges, Spain. The residents dress up in skeletal outfits and re-enact scenes from The Passion while parading through the streets of town, complete with eerie fire torches. The parade starts at Midnight and lasts for three hours until the early morning.
The end of the ‘dansa de la mort’ is signified by terrifyingly designed skeletons carrying boxes of ashes, signifying the death of Christ.
Easter celebrations in Rome start on Good Friday, where the Pope will commemorates the ‘Via Crucis’ or ‘Way of the Cross’. At the coliseum a huge cross made of burning torches is burnt, lighting up the sky, while the 14 Stations of the Cross are described in multiple languages for all to hear.
On both Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday mass is held in the evening, and on the Sunday, visitors congregate in St Peter’s Square to be able to receive the Pope’s blessing seen from the church’s balcony. This is known as ‘Urbi et Orbi’ or ‘To the City and to the World’.
Sweden and Finland
Easter time is like a mini Halloween for most of Sweden and various areas of Finland. It was thought that on the Thursday before Easter weekend, witches used to fly to the mountains to congress with Satan. Children would wear rags and old clothes and would go from door to door holding out a copper kettle for treats.
To scare away the ‘witches’ the Swedes would light up large bonfires that would keep evil spirits from entering their homes. Nowadays children still go out ‘trick or treating’ and bonfires and fireworks are set up and let off throughout the town in keeping with the old traditions.
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