What does Easter mean to you?

Hello everybody, could you please tell me what Easter means to you? I’m interested to hear what you and your family do at Easter. Does the holiday have any religious significance to you? Easter which we call Las Pascuas has a long tradition in Argentina, we usually celebrate it with a carnival and there various ceremonies like the Tincunaco which is held to unite different generations of women. This year I have a lot of assignments to do for my studies and I’m spending most of the time at home.
What are you doing?


Easter, or the Holy Week as we call it (Semana Santa), is mainly a religious holiday in Spain – we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, on Holy (or Good) Friday and on Easter (or Resurrection) Sunday respectively. Holy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, which was held the evening before the Crucifixion. Easter is the most important date in the Christian calendar.

Thousands of processions symbolizing the journey of Christ to Calvary are held all over the country to the sound of trumpets and drums as well as that of religious chants like the beautifully sad Andalusian ‘saetas’. Sometimes at the beat of a solemn drum only or simply in a sobering and reverent silence that seizes your emotions even more. Many processions are held at night. The contrast between these somber processions and the joyful celebrations and parades of Easter Sunday is great. Seville (Andalusia) and Valladolid (Castilla y León) are among the cities that display some of the most famous and beautiful ‘pasos’. These are artfully made and decorated floats or platforms bearing sculptured scenes from the Passion. Some of them are monumental masterpieces and can weigh up to 2,000 kilos. They are often carried by men wearing pointed hoods, who are said to represent penitents too ashamed by the crucifixion to show their faces. Some men also carry huge crucifixes on their shoulders.

The further south you go, the more passionate it becomes. These parades draw crouds of visitors from all over the world, as it is a unique experience, whether you are religious or not.

Children have a long week free from school, while Thursday and Friday are bank holidays.

The traditional Easter sweets are ‘torrijas’ (eggy bread or French toasts with honey, cinnamon and, sometimes, red wine) and ‘pesti?os’ (fried pancakes with aniseed and honey) , though chocolate eggs and other figures are also present. This reminds me of a little childhood anecdote: we once placed a chocolate rabbit on the TV set and, before we knew it, it hat melted down to a kind of deformed, crippled figure – luckily, we hadn’t removed its decorative wrapping and bow!

Hi Andreana,
Where I come from Easter is the second most expected holiday, after Christmas. For many people it certainly has a religious significance and I know a lot of people who even strictly fast for forty days before Easter.
The first thing we do to prepare for this day is to give our houses a good clean (the meaning is that you have to prepare your home for sheltering your clean soul). After that we have to colour some Easter eggs. As I have a young daughter, aged 7, I can say that we virtually paint the eggs, turning this activity into a lot of fun. We are supposed to do this on Thursday or on Saturday, no other day of the week. On Friday we are not supposed to do any housework. It’s considered to be a sin (for the really religious people, of course).
It is a kind of a ritual (no matter if you are religious or not) to celebrate Easter by going around the church at midnight. There is a special sermon at midnight and after it’s over the priest holds a candle and makes three circles around the church. Everybody then follows him with a candle in their hands (by the way, I skip this part because my hair got burnt a couple of times). During the next day, which is Sunday, the fasting time is over and there is usually a rich breakfast including mostly heavy food, such as Easter cake, eggs, etc. This is the time when one usually picks up a coloured egg and tries to break the egg of someone else using his own egg. If your egg doesn’t break, it means that you will be healthy throughout the whole year.
Well, Easter is just next Sunday and I am looking forward to it :slight_smile: It’s really sad that you have to spend most of the time studying, Andreana, but there are priorities :slight_smile:
Anyway, I wish you a lot of nice (or rather useful) time!

Reading your descriptions of Easter traditions in your home countries got me thinking and prepared me for the remarks of a man who has just arrived from Peru. He was surprised, because he didn’t see Easter on the streets here. The only thing you really notice is that most people aren’t at work after 12:00 on Good Friday. Fifty years ago, I suppose most of them went to church between noon and 3:00, but now the traffic tells me they go shopping.

It’s true. There’s no Easter on the street. Easter here is mainly celebrated in the home and in church. If there are children in the family, the Easter bunny hides baskets of candy for them, and the kids have great excitement searching for them in the morning. Other than that, at home nothing happens on Easter that doesn’t happen on any other major food holiday. The family gets together for dinner, and some of the men and boys desert the family to sit catatonically in front of some sports match on TV.

How Easter is celebrated at church depends on your religion and the cultural orientation of your church. There are some churches that have very corny, silly celebrations that are overly affected by TV and pop psychology, and there are ones that keep things as solemn and traditional as possible.

Tonight I will go to the Easter vigil mass at the same German gothic church where my great grandparents went. You can tour its architecture and listen to music samples at this website (which I made): saint-joseph-detroit.org

Tomorrow I’ll go to a friend’s house and everyone will celebrate with food. His kids have always gotten two Easters every year, because he is Catholic and his wife’s family is Greek Orthodox. They say they celebrate “American Easter and metric Easter”, just as they celebrate “American Christmas and metric Christmas”.

Hi Jamie,
Thanks for showing us this beautiful church. I liked the tour very much!
I noticed that you used “American Easter or metric Easter”. In Europe it’s the same, there’s one week difference in time between both. Catholic Easter comes before the Orthodox one.
But let me come to the point. What I wanted to ask you is if the word “metric” has any other meaning regarding the topic. I read a lot of articles trying to search for some different meaning than measurements but I didn’t come across anything. I understand it has something to do with the Orthodox Easter, but why is it called “metric”? I am that curious because I seem to celebrate metric Easter as well. Could you enlighten me, please!Thanks a lot!

Our saying the “American Easter” and the “metric Easter” is just a joke. In daily life in the US (but not in industry) we still use English measurements. For example, I know that a kilogram is 1,000 grams, but I don’t have any concrete concept how much that is. How many apples? How many grapes? How much flour? I have no idea. Give them to me in pounds. Also, I need two sets of tools to fix things, English and metric. My bike and car are metric, and everything in the house is English.

Anyway, if something an American is trying to use is of the wrong size, or we can’t find a wrench to fit it, or it won’t screw onto something correctly, then there’s a good chance that it was made to a metric measurement. So, for us, the Orthodox Easter isn’t on the calendar we’re used to, and we don’t know when it comes, so my friend and I joke that it’s “metric” instead of American.

That was fast! Thanks a lot!
Well, now you know - the metric one is a week after yours:) Probably the same goes vice versa - in our calendar we don’t have the Catholic Easter, so it’s metric Easter to us:) Now, after we are well clear on the point of which is when celebrated, I guess, in our mind, they are not metric anymore. I like the joke very much.
As for the pounds…I can only say that it’s quite confusing to me. I know that one kilo is about two pounds but in Bulgaria we measure in kilos. Once, a Dutch friend of mine told me that during her pregnancy she gained more than 20 pounds. I was shocked because at first I thought of pounds as kilos. Then I had to count and it was not so much anymore but it’s still confusing.
I remember that it was one of the most annoying sections (to me) when I had to prepare for the SAT exam. I had to learn all those differences in the metric standards and I’m very bad at numbers. When I come to think of this, I wonder why such differences exist at all!

In the Czech Republic, my friends and students and I would sometimes have raucous fun telling our weights and heights without saying the unit of measure. It seems silly, but it really was hilarious at times.

Just for fun–if it isn’t too much topic drift–if you enter the words “5 kilograms in pounds” into Google, instead of search results you’ll get the conversion you might be looking for. I turn to Google for this sort of thing when I’m cooking, and the cookbook tells me about grams and I need to know in cups or tablespoons.

Thanks Niki! Very helpful indeed:)

strangely enough in my area it’s a mixture of secularism and religion - we have Easter Egg hunts and enough chocolate to make you sick, but we’re still seeing plenty of traffic to the churches and they just ran “Ten Commandments” on the television last night. Still a great movie!

for myself, it’s not so good with a sick relative in the hospital… but we’re trying.

What is your area?

Easter Polish Easter have one special celebration,barbarian maybe for all of you but really funny . On Easter Monday there is a very ancient Easter tradition called “Smingus-Dyngus” – custom of pouring water on one another.
There are regular street battles on water as a weapon ,
all girls in vicinity have to be almost drown , preparations last many weeks in advance and no mercy,
Well ,it is absolutely normal tomorrow morning up to 1200 be greeted by completely stranger with buckle full of water,
right on you head.
specially if you are a girl and if you are pretty girl you may 100% sure it happens
Something like ten twelve years ago. Reuters was reporting
in sarcastic tone from Poland about this costume as streets bands and barbarian etc.
Really it makes everybody a lot of laugh

It does sound great fun! The name itself makes you laugh and is reminiscent of boisterous and crazy romps. It’s a variant of the water balloon battles or bombs, one of the children’s favourite games. I hope it won’t be too cold in Poland tomorrow :slight_smile: .

Jamie I do hope you still have a copy of your interesting post, which I’ve inadvertently made disappear by clicking on the wrong thing.

I’m very sorry :oops: !


Oh, no! What have I done? I must have pressed the wrong button and now I’ve deleted Jamie’s post.


They certainly knew how to have fun those Celts! Just imagine: no Internet, movies, CD’s…nothing, really. What would we do? Well, at first many of us would be lost without some of these things we just take for granted, but then, who knows? It might be worth a try. More and more people give up their pampered lives and move to rural areas (there are enough more or less abandoned villages or hamlets in Spain, as in so many countries, where you can ‘go back to nature’, as they say). Still, it must take quite a bit of courage!

Here it is the explanation again:

In the Czech Republic they have an Easter tradition that’s really an old fertility ritual left over from Celtic times. Before Easter, the women and girls braid switches from thin sticks and tie ribbons to the ends of them. On Easter morning, either out in the town square or door to door, the men and boys chase the women and girls, striking them with these switches. (“NOT TOO HARD!” I was admonished by a Czech man as I tested one of the switches on my own leg.) In return for this “beating” the women and girls give Easter eggs to the men and/or douse them with water and cheap perfume. That morning you can see a lot of women with their clothes stuffed with pillows, and men who are all wet and reek of a combination of bad scents. People really enjoy this ritual.

Anglophone feminists are ideologically bothered by this whole thing, and sometimes they report on it in the English-language press, distorting it to the point of lying. Once I saw it explained as a ritual in which any woman walking into a pub will be whipped and then forced to buy drinks for the men who are there. In the years I lived there, that report was the only place I had ever heard of such a thing, and of course that’s not the tradition. The writer apparently felt that if she told the truth it wouldn’t sound barbaric enough.

Phew! I’m glad you had a copy. I’ll try not to mess up in future posts and look twice before clicking on anything, I promise.

Jamie, I’ve just read your post again and noticed from one or two little things that it’s not a copy – you’ve had to rewrite the whole story, poor you! Sorry again!