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Happy Easter!

Easter is a vibrant reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is always the promise of new beginnings. Just as spring follows winter, hope follows hardship. Let the Easter spirit inspire you to believe in the possibility of renewal, both within yourself and in the world around you. Embrace the chance to start fresh, to forgive and be forgiven, and to spread light and love wherever you go. Happy Easter!


Easter Sunday this year, 2024, falls on March 31st in most countries. So you might already be knee-deep in preparations for the festivities! Greek Orthodox Easter follows the Julian calendar and falls on a different date than Western Easter. This year, Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday falls on Sunday, May 5th, 2024.



Easter Eggstravaganza: Exploring Traditions Around the World

Easter bursts onto the scene each spring, a vibrant celebration steeped in tradition. While the core Christian message of Jesus' resurrection remains constant, the ways we celebrate Easter take on a delightful local flair around the world. Let's crack open the basket and discover some unique Easter traditions!


Egg-cellent Hunts and Beyond

The Easter egg hunt is a beloved tradition across many cultures. In Germany, children search for brightly colored eggs hidden by "Osterhase" (the Easter Hare). Greece takes it a step further with a "Tsougrisma" game, where decorated eggs are tapped together, with the strongest shell winning a prize.


Food Glorious Food

Easter feasts are a global phenomenon. In Italy, a sweet bread called "Pizza di Pasqua" graces the table, while families in Poland enjoy a special basket blessing filled with symbolic foods. Ethiopia celebrates with "Doro Wat," a spicy chicken stew, while Bulgaria features painted eggs nestled amongst braided bread.


Fire and Light

Easter traditions extend beyond the dinner table. In parts of Greece, giant bonfires crackle on Holy Saturday, symbolizing the burning away of winter and sin. Finland lights bonfires too, with playful children rolling burning straw down hills.


Springtime Renewal

Easter coincides with spring in many parts of the world, making it a natural time for renewal. The French decorate their homes with lilies, symbolizing purity and rebirth. In Germany, "Osterbrunnen" (Easter fountains) adorned with colorful eggs become a vibrant symbol of springtime.


Unique Customs

The Czechs have a unique tradition on Easter Monday, where boys playfully whip girls with willow branches, believed to bring good health. In the United States, the Easter Bunny takes center stage, leaving baskets overflowing with treats for excited children.

These are just a taste of the many Easter traditions that weave a rich tapestry around the world. So, this Easter, embrace the spirit of renewal, gather with loved ones, and celebrate the joy of springtime in all its colorful glory!


A Swedish Easter: Witches, Feasts, and Birch Twigs

Sweden celebrates Easter with a unique blend of traditions that are both whimsical and delicious.


Here's a peek into what makes a Swedish Easter so special


The Rise of the Påskhäxor (Easter Witches)

Move over Easter Bunny, Sweden has Easter Witches! On Easter Saturday, children dress up as Påskhäxor, sporting mismatched clothes, headscarves, and rosy cheeks. They then visit neighbors, offering homemade Easter cards or drawings in exchange for treats. This tradition likely has roots in old folklore about witches flying off to Blåkulla on broomsticks before Easter.


A Feast for the Senses

Food takes center stage in Swedish Easter celebrations. Easter lunch is a smorgasbord of delights, featuring pickled herring, gravlax (cured salmon), Jansson's frestelse (a creamy potato, onion, and anchovy casserole), and, of course, hard-boiled eggs. Lamb often graces the Easter dinner table. Don't forget the Påskmust, a traditional sweet soda enjoyed throughout the Easter weekend.


Springtime Symphony

Swedes love to usher in spring with vibrant decorations. Homes are adorned with colorful eggs, painstakingly hand-painted on Good Friday or Holy Saturday. Birch twigs, a symbol of new life, are brought indoors and decorated with feathers and colorful ribbons. These "rislampor" (twig lamps) add a touch of whimsy to Swedish Easter celebrations.


Beyond the Traditions

Easter is also a time for family gatherings and outdoor activities. Swedes enjoy spending time in nature, picnicking in parks, or taking hikes to enjoy the beauty of spring. Church services are well-attended, especially on Easter Sunday.


So, if you're looking for an Easter celebration that's both fun and full of flavor, a Swedish Easter might be just the ticket. With its quirky traditions, delicious food, and focus on spring renewal, it's a delightful way to experience the holiday spirit.


A Greek Easter: Flames, Feasts, and the Cracking of Eggs

Greek Easter is an explosion of color, tradition, and religious fervor. Celebrated according to the Orthodox calendar, it often falls on a different date than Western Easter.


Here's a glimpse into the unique ways Greeks celebrate the Resurrection:


The Holy Week Countdown

Preparations for Easter begin weeks in advance with Lent, a period of fasting and reflection. Holy Week intensifies the anticipation. On Holy Thursday, homes are decorated, and the traditional red Easter eggs are dyed with beetroot. These eggs symbolize the blood of Christ and new life.


The Light of the Resurrection

The most powerful Easter tradition unfolds on Holy Saturday night. Thousands gather outside churches at midnight for the spectacular "Anastasi" (Resurrection) service. As the clock strikes twelve, a priest emerges from the darkened church holding a holy flame, believed to have originated in Jerusalem. This "Holy Fire" is then shared with worshippers, spreading a message of hope and renewal.


A Feast Fit for Gods

Easter Sunday explodes with joyous celebrations. After the midnight service, families gather for a celebratory feast. Magiritsa, a hearty soup made with lamb offal and vegetables, traditionally breaks the Lenten fast. The main course is a succulent whole roast lamb, cooked on a spit over an open fire. Laughter, music, and stories fill the air as families and friends come together.


Cracking Good Fun

A playful Easter tradition involves decorated eggs. The "Tsougrisma" game involves tapping two dyed eggs together, with the strongest shell winning a prize. Children delight in this lighthearted competition, adding another layer of joy to the festivities.


Beyond the Celebrations

Easter Monday is a national holiday in Greece. People often head outdoors for picnics, enjoying the spring sunshine and the lingering spirit of Easter joy.

Greek Easter is a powerful testament to faith, family, and the triumph of life. It's a celebration that bursts with symbolism, delicious food, and vibrant traditions, making it a truly unforgettable experience.


Love & Light

Anne













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