Easter Quick Facts - EU

AKA NamePaschal Vigil
HashtagsCompiled on#Easter
Related Hashtags#HappyEaster, #Dogs
2024 Date31 March 2024
2025 Date20 April 2025


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Easter History

Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, a cornerstone of Christian doctrine. The holiday is marked by numerous traditions ranging from religious services to communal meals and festive processions. Notably, Easter also heralds the spring season, and for some, it signifies a period of renewal and hope.

The observance of Easter has deep roots in history, tracing back to early Christianity. Over time, different societies adopted and adapted its traditions, giving Easter the diverse tapestry of practices we see today. In the European Union (EU), Easter holds particular significance. The EU recognizes the importance of freedom of religion and belief and values the shared history and cultural diversity brought about by events like Easter. Several EU member states have established Easter as a public holiday, acknowledging both its religious and cultural significance.

In the EU, Easter observance varies in detail but maintains a common thematic core. Churches across the region hold special services, often culminating in a grand ceremony on Easter Sunday. Many European cultures also engage in festive traditions like egg decorating and hunts, symbolic of new life. Parades and carnivals are popular in countries like Greece and Spain, while in others, unique local customs take center stage. Easter typically falls on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox, but the exact date may vary across Orthodox and Western Christianity prevalent in different EU states.

Facts about Easter

  • For many Christian congregations, the first Easter service for the year is the Service of Light. The worship typically starts in darkness on the preceding Saturday night or early Sunday morning. Light is brought into the church with candles to signify hope based on the resurrection. The service culminates with the lighting of a paschal candle, signifying Christ.
  • Easter eggs represent new life and also symbolize the shape of Jesus' tomb.
  • In Italy, Vatican City holds a procession on Good Friday, presided over by the Pope, to commemorate the Stations of the Cross. Italians often start their Easter Sunday with a breakfast of salami and pecorino cheese.
  • In Poland, a tradition called "Smigus-Dyngus" is observed on Easter Monday where boys try to drench others with buckets of water.

Top things to do in the EU for Easter

  • Go to a children's Easter egg hunt or hold one of your own. Many churches have them the Saturday before Easter too.
  • Cook an Easter dinner for family and friends. Traditional entrees include lamb or ham. During Lent (period leading up to Easter), many Roman Catholics exclude meat from their diet, so Easter is often indulgent on meat.
  • Visit the Vatican City, Italy: The Pope conducts a series of intimate church services during the Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday. On Good Friday, the 'Via Crucis' or Stations of the Cross ceremony lights up the Colosseum in a spectacle not to be missed.
  • Prepare traditional meals for Easter, such as:
    1) Roast Lamb: This dish is a tradition for many countries across the EU during Easter. You can add garlic, rosemary, and other herbs for a burst of flavor.
    2) Roasted Salmon: Particularly popular in Nordic countries for Easter, salmon can be roasted with herbs and served alongside fresh vegetables.
    3) Chervil Soup: This is a typical Easter dish in Belgium, made with fresh chervil.

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