It’s that time of the year when supermarket shelves are bursting with chocolate, hot cross buns and food for big family celebrations – and this means just one thing: Easter weekend is (almost) upon us. In Britain, we’re content with a Sunday Lunch, gorging ourselves silly on Easter Eggs and perhaps a church service – but many places around the world take this Christian celebration just a little bit more seriously…
We had a look across the globe and found some of the more interesting, unusual and downright egg-ceptional events and festivities to get involved with this weekend…
The highlight of Easter in New York is undoubtedly the Easter Bonnet Parade. People come from all over the world to participate in the informal procession along Fifth Avenue where anything from civil war period costumes to the latest fashions are on show, not to mention some incredible millinery masterpieces. Its roots can be traced back to the mid 1800s when ladies of the elite classes would show off their finery after Easter church services. As well as the parade, Central Park comes alive with the annual Eggstravaganza, which includes The Great Central Park Easter Egg Hunt, egg rolling, face panting, and even a live petting zoo.
As well as being the longest running annual presidential tradition, The White House Easter Egg Roll is one of the most anticipated Easter events. It’s been a fixture of the Washington D.C. calendar ever since 1878 when President Rutherford B. Hayes invited local children to The White House grounds for Easter Monday ‘egg rolling’. Today, the coveted tickets are allocated via a lottery for children under thirteen and their families from all over the U.S. If you’re not from America or you’re unlucky with the lottery then never fear, there’s always the Capitol Hill Egg Hunt to keep you entertained.
Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Seville is a magnificent affair, with huge processions taking place throughout the city in the week leading up to Easter Sunday. Candlelit floats carrying incredibly heavy Baroque effigies of Jesus and the Virgin Mary are carried through the streets by the barefoot ‘nazarenos’ – the penitents – dressed in cloaks and habits, the colour of which depends on the brotherhood that each belongs to. Expect immense crowds and some fantastic photo opportunities wherever you are in the city.
Bessières, France (near Toulouse)
If you happen to be travelling around the Toulouse area of France on Easter Monday then be sure to make Bessières a pit stop. Every year local chefs get together and cook an omelette big enough to feed about 1,000 people – a tradition that, legend has it, goes back to Napoleon’s first omelette in the town. He loved it so much that after being served one for dinner, he ordered a giant one to be made for his whole army the next day. Today the portions of the omelette (which is made with 15,000 eggs!!) are given to the poor and the townspeople who come to watch the mammoth preparation process.
Given that Rome is home to the seat of the Catholic Church (Vatican City), it’s perhaps not all that surprising to find that Easter is a big deal here. And this year will be no exception, especially when combined with the added excitement created by a brand new pope. Mass in Saint Peter’s Square on Easter Sunday is undeniably the highlight of the weekend, after which the Pope delivers the “Urbi et Orbi” – a blessing given from the balcony overlooking the square.
So, what do you think? Will you be getting involved in any of these incredible Easter events?
Header Image © antonin_remond
Words by Victoria Godden