Easter is near! You might have noticed that your weekend will be extra long this week. You might also have noticed an abundance of chocolate eggs around you in the library (great study fuel!). Needless to say, these things put a smile to everyone’s face, but there’s more to it …
Easter is a Christian holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. It takes place on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday and is preceded by Maundy Thursday, on which the Last Supper is commemorated, Good Friday, memorializing the crucifixion and death of Jesus and Holy Saturday . Traditional Easter habits vary across the Christian world and include sunrise services and decorating Easter eggs. Over the years, traditions such as egg hunting, the Easter Bunny and numerous Easter parades have been added and are enthusiastically celebrated by Christians as well as non-Christians.
Many countries have their own specific Easter traditions. Brazilians have the habit of buying gifts for each other and then guessing which gift belongs to who, in England, the ‘Morris Dance’ tradition results in sweets and so called ‘creamy eggs’ all around and Germans tend to decorate the whole of their houses with chocolate eggs and Easter bunnies. There is only one thing that all of them seem to have in common; excessive portions of delicious food that make your eyes bigger than your stomach every time again.
The Netherlands joins in on the party too with some yearly customs that every Dutch family is familiar with. On Easter Sunday, Dutchies prepare festive brunches that commonly include croissants, bread rolls and buns – anything more luxury than the usual cheese sandwich. After a cozy family get-together around the dinner table, many move their full stomachs to the couches in front of the television. Namely, at noon the pope will give his blessing ‘Urbi et Orbi’ – to the city and to the World – from his spot on the balcony of the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The pope’s speech was especially enjoyable during the years of Pope Johannes Paulus II, who used to address over a sixty countries in their own language and always struggled with his Dutch ‘bedankt voor de bloemen’, or ‘thank you for the flowers’ (A for effort though!). However, the current pope Franciscus has cleverly decided to stick to Italian greetings and manages to get the loving message across, regardless of the language barrier. Easter Sunday is then continued outside, where children as well as adults go on a quest for colorful Easter eggs. The kids may have painted the eggs themselves, but they can also be bought in the store. And after all eggs are found they may be taken back inside to eat, although many enjoy the hunt more than the actual eggs. Lastly, Dutch television often broadcasts Easter-related movies such as Jesus Christ Superstar and Ben Hur, which revolve around the suffering of Jesus Christ.
All in all, Easter revolves around different habits and customs depending on the side of the world you are on, as well as your religious background. This year, dive into the Dutch ways and see how you like it! Happy Easter!