The world may be at a standstill, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to celebrate one of the most beloved holidays of the year: Easter! Given that so many countries are on lockdown, we thought you might want to learn how our diverse group of Monesers from across our offices plan to celebrate this year. What twist on tradition will they take this year, under the circumstances? Read on to find out!
Poles participate in many different Easter customs such as painting intricately designed eggs, blessing easter baskets full of food and creating palms of willow branches for good luck. One funny Easter tradition this Central European country partakes in is known as Śmigus-Dyngus. Poles will douse each other with water on Easter Monday — both family members and strangers!
Jagoda from London: “I used to set my alarm for first thing in the morning to avoid getting hit with ice water! If I had the opportunity to be with my parents in Poland this year, we’d likely paint eggs, bake some traditional cakes and have Sunday breakfast”.
In Portugal, one tradition this time of year includes baking and eating the folar. It’s a savoury bread that comes with a boiled egg in the centre and represents the rebirth of Christ. Codfish is a staple on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. That is until Easter Sunday when the Portuguese feast on roasted lamb. Other traditions include godchildren gifting their godparents an olive branch, flowers, Easter almonds and chocolates.
Tomás from Lisbon: “Ever since my nephews were born, we’ve gone to my grandmother's house each year. We use her garden to hide chocolate eggs in the bushes and trees, and my nephews and cousins search the garden to find the eggs the ‘Easter Bunny’ hid. Due to Covid-19, we won’t be able to make it out to my grandmother’s house this year, so we're doing the same thing in my sister’s backyard. It’s not as big, but still — something fun to do with the little ones amidst the crisis”.
Forget the Easter Bunny. In Lithuania, they have the Easter Granny! She’s the one to deliver sweets and eggs for all the children to hunt down this time of year. Lithuanians also have several Easter-related superstitions, such as burying a decorated egg at the front of their house to keep their family safe from harm.
Karol from London: “In Lithuania, we're quite proud of our Easter palms, especially the ones made around the capital, Vilnius. My grandmother used to gather flowers, dry, dye and tie them into a palm, and sell them at markets’.
As the majority of Romanians are Orthodox, so are their countless Easter traditions and customs. Knocking eggs together end-to-end is a popular tradition. Two eggs are cracked together by two people with one person saying ‘Christ is risen’ and the second, ‘Indeed he is’. Also, Orthodox Easter usually falls on a different Sunday – this year it’s a week later, on April 19th.
Monica from Lisbon: “For most Romanians (especially religious ones), it’s very important to go to church the night before Easter to light a candle and bring the ‘resurrection light’ into our homes. On our way back home, we share the holy candle fire with others we encounter on the way. Because we’re social distancing, this won’t be possible this year, but we’ll still partake in many of the usual activities at home — like knocking and painting eggs”!
Italians are used to celebrating Easter with grand parades and gatherings throughout the towns. Unfortunately, many have been cancelled as confinement restrictions will continue to be enforced throughout April. But this doesn’t mean Italians won’t find other ways to celebrate the holiday. During Easter, Italians feast on Pizza Sbattuta (a sponge cake), salty cakes, hard-boiled eggs, ham and corallina, a traditional salami.
Jessica from London: “In Italy, it’s all about food! On Sunday, we have Easter lunch with traditional lamb. We have a special sweet, panettone-like bread called Colomba in the shape of a dove (a white dove carrying an olive tree branch is considered the symbol for Easter). This year is going to be strange as we can’t celebrate together. Still, to keep up spirits, everyone will hang an olive tree branch outside the door to keep up with the tradition. We’ll be having our food via video call! And we’re organizing cooking classes through WhatsApp to prepare typical dishes together”.
Has the coronavirus outbreak affected your Easter plans this year? Let us know what you’re doing to celebrate instead or what cool Easter traditions you’ll be keeping! Get in touch on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.