Easter Celebrations Around The World
Easter Sunday falls on March 27th this year and all over the world, millions of people are preparing celebrations as unique and varied as the countries themselves. From the deeply religious penitents of Indonesia to the bonnet-wearing fashion parade along 5th Avenue, we take a look at some of the most fascinating festivals around the globe.
New York City, USA
NYC loves a parade, and Easter is one more excuse for the city to have a party. Closing off 5th Avenue gives New Yorkers the chance to don their finest creations and join the procession between 49th and 57th Street. A century old tradition, you’ll see revellers dressed in the weird and the wonderful, the exquisite and the extraordinary. Try to bag a spot around St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 51st Street for the best views.
Almost every Spanish town and city celebrates Semana Santa, or Holy Week, with a penance procession through its streets. Perhaps the most elaborate festival is held in Seville, where lifelike wooden sculptures depicting scenes from the Easter story, called pasos, are paraded along the route. Following on behind are ‘nazarenos’, masked penitents dressed head to toe in habits, topped with pointed hoods. The festival also marks the beginning of spring, so there are further celebrations throughout the whole country.
All across Indonesia, Easter celebrations are taken extremely literally, with re-enactments of the crucifixion taking place in many towns and villages. Devotees perform ‘passion plays’ depicting the suffering of Jesus, and statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary are carried through the streets. Young men are bound to wooden crosses and publicly displayed, many taking part to atone for sins or to give thanks for what they see as miracles. It is considered the greatest honour to play the role of Jesus.
San Fernando, Philippines
The Maundy Thursday celebrations in the Philippines are not for the squeamish. In order to cleanse their bodies of sin or to pray for a better life, devout Filipino Catholics take part in rituals of self-flagellation. Half naked and barefoot, the penitents whip themselves on the back, paying homage to the persecution of Christ. The ceremony is watched by thousands and makeshift altars line the route, where devotees listen to descriptions of Jesus’s suffering.
The Wieliczka salt mine in Poland hosts one of the more unusual Easter celebrations. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the oldest salt mines in the world, and every year the miners don ceremonial uniforms and march to a salt monument of Pope John Paul II in the underground Kinga Chapel, 318ft below the surface. The procession, called the Underground Way of the Holy Cross, is open to the public as part of an organised tour. Visitors can also explore the underground town built by the miners, as well as some of the 186 miles of passages in the mine.
Fed up of chocolate? Why not get an Easter watch.
Swap unwrapping gold foil to unwrapping the 18k gold Zinvo blade.