If you celebrate Easter in the UK or USA it is usually about one of three things: celebrating a religious event, spending time with family, or stuffing your face with chocolate… What am I saying? it’s always about stuffing your face with chocolate. But across the world some interesting, and sometimes gory, celebrations will be taking place this weekend. Which would you like to see?
Easter is a huge deal in the deeply religious Philippines. Celebrations take place throughout the whole of Holy Week and involve performances depicting the life of Jesus, singing or reading the Passion of Jesus (Pabása ng Pasyón) with family and friends, and pledging to give up vices (much like the UK do for Lent).
There are also the more controversial celebrations in the City of San Fernando where men practice self-flagellation as they walk through the city to reenact Jesus’ walk to Calvary while wearing crowns of thorns. Actual crucifixions then take place and crowds gather to watch as the men atone for their sins. This one is pretty gruesome and is discouraged by the Church but the long-held tradition continues and is popular with participants and spectators.
While most visit Church daily during Semana Santa, Holy Monday is particularly important to the residents of Cusco. The famous Procession of ‘El Señor de los Temblores’ (The Lord of Earthquakes) sees people flock to the main square of the city. Residents carry a statue of the saint who, it is believed, stopped an earthquake in 1650.
Fanesa is on the menu in Ecuador! A salt cod stew with beans and 12 grains (to represent the 12 apostles), fanesa is popular at Easter time. Although it can be found in many places, it is believed the best fanesa is in Cuenca. As one of the most religious cities in Ecuador, many travel to Cuenca to take part in the processions and celebrations in the colonial city.
Although China is not a predominantly a Christian county, numbers are on the rise. Easter Sunday has become a popular day for baptisms and it has been reported that over 20,000 people join the Church on this day each year. Although this doesn’t sound like a lot for a country of 1.4 billion people, huge numbers are baptized year on year.
Across Africa, Easter is a time for social communion and many people, both Catholic and not, visit Churches and social events in their local communities. Alongside this, South Africa embraces the fun and hosts an Easter egg hunt in the clouds. The event, held on the summit of Table Mountain allows the young and young-at-heart to run around the impressive landmark searching for eggs while they take in the breathtaking views!
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How do you celebrate Easter? Let us know in the comments!