With nearly 3 billion Christians in the world today, Easter is more celebrated than ever.
And while the holiday is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, many countries, including the United States, celebrate the holiday with some unique traditions.
In Bulgaria, rather than hunt for Easter eggs, children engage in Easter egg fights, where they take turns tapping their eggs together.
Before fights, grandmothers rub red dye on children’s cheeks, symbolizing the health and strength they hope their grandchildren to have.
Whoever walks away from the fight with an unbroken egg is declared the winner and is considered to have the most successful year to come.
Seville, Spain, is the home of one of the largest Easter parades in the world. Each year, thousands of spectators watch parade participants carry statues and depictions of the crucifixion through the streets.
As early as 1622, Florence, Italy, has celebrated Easter with Scoppio del Carro, which means “explosion of the cart.” A large, ornately decorated cart is pulled through the streets by white oxen to the city’s Church of Santi Apostoli. When the cart reaches the front steps of the cathedral, the archbishop lights the cart, which is loaded with fireworks, shooting off an impressive display. The cart is led by a parade of drummers and locals dressed in medieval costumes and is symbolic of a good harvest.
In Hungary, children celebrate Easter with a game of sprinkling. Boys will sprinkle girls with perfume or water and ask for a kiss.
On Good Friday, Bermuda residents fly kites in the shape of crosses to symbolize Jesus’s death on the cross.
Germany is well-known for hanging their eggs from trees, rather than hiding them in the grass. Trees are hung with hundreds or even thousands of brightly colored eggs.
In this small town in Southern France, locals pitch in and cook up a massive, 4,500-egg omelet in the town square that feeds more than 1,000 people.
According to French tradition, Napoleon Bonaparte stopped his troops in Haux, where they ate omelets for breakfast. Napoleon liked his omelet so much, the townspeople made him a giant omelet the next day.
In America, Easter is often synonymous with pastels, eggs, bunnies and chocolate. Families take their children to malls for photos with the Easter bunny. Children hunt ferociously for colored eggs and the promise of candy or tear apart baskets wrapped in clear plastic and filled with green paper cut into long zig-zag strips. Women and girls don beautiful dresses with frills and florals. Men and boys dust off their sport coats and iron their shirts..
Even the White House celebrates Easter with its annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn.
The heart of Easter
In the church, Easter is the most important day in history and the crescendo of the calendar.
It’s opening day, the world championship and the big awards ceremony all in one. It’s more than pretty dresses and extra seating—it’s the Sunday above all Sundays.
Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After three years of showing and telling of His divinity, He proves, once and for all, that He is the Messiah.
And after three days of waiting in darkness after His death on the cross, Jesus proves that He is more powerful than even death itself.
Jesus’ resurrection not only proves His messiahship—it’s an invitation.
Pastor, author and theologian Timothy Keller once said, “The reason the stone was rolled away on Jesus’ tomb was not so that Jesus could get out, but so that we could get in.”
Jesus came so that all could share in His resurrection.
1 Peter 1:3-4 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.”
Those who believe that their sins were nailed with Jesus to the cross and that their hope is secured in the resurrection will share in the eternal life Jesus promised.
And that is definitely something worth celebrating.