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Easter Around the World

April 1st 2015
By: Jon
Easter Around the World

As the spring flowers bring much needed colour to our gardens and open spaces’ many of us with children will celebrate Easter with an Easter Egg hunt around the garden, or an organised trail with CadburyUK (www.eastereggtrail.com). But throughout the world, the traditions vary and in the UK there are still a few more unusual events that take place at Easter.

The village of Hallaton in Leicestershire arrange a Hare Pie Scramble and Bottle Kicking match which takes place on Easter Monday.  It comprises procession through the village, a large pie which is distributed to the crowd and then the game follows with the bottle kicking between the villagers of Hallaton and neighbouring villagers from Medbourne.  There aren’t many rules and the winner is decided by the best of three bottles! 

In France on Good Friday or Easter Saturday you won’t hear the church bells ring, sometimes children are told the bells have gone off to see the Pope! 
In the German village of Oberammergau, they hold a Passion Play every ten years.  In 1663, the village was almost destroyed by the Black Death – the religious leaders at the time promised God they would put on a play every ten years to praise God, if their village was saved.  It was, so the villagers put on the play and keep their promise.  The play is popular and booked up many years in advance – the next one is in 2020 – it starts at 9:30, breaks for a long lunch and finishes at 6pm.  To find out more visit www.passionplay-oberammergau.com

Italy celebrates with the Pope presiding over a large Mass Service in St Peter’s Square, in the Vatican City.  It’s broadcast all over the world on radio and television. Olive branches are often used in the Palm Sunday services instead of Palm leaves.

The whole of Holy Week is often a holiday in Spain, with many Catholics fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  Maundy Thursday sees the ‘Dance of Death’ in Verges, Girona, where men dressed as skeletons perform a scary dance at night.  The biggest processions are held in Seville and are organised by ‘the Brotherhoods’ (the ‘co-fradias’) – the competition is fierce with each one trying to put on the biggest and the best.