Easter Traditions Around The World

In Central Europe, the Easter afternoon procession (the Emmaus walk) includes an egg hunt. In Eastern Europe, the procession spills outdoors from the church and into the cemeteries, to bring the Good News of Easter to the dead. People place flowers and decorated eggs on the graves.

In Italian, Hispanic, and Filipino tradition, the Easter procession includes the beloved ritual of the encuentro, that is, the meeting between the Sorrowful Mother and the risen Jesus. Their statues are brought together from opposite sides of town. When the statues meet, the bells joyfully ring out. Mary’s robes of mourning are replaced by shining garments, and everyone sings the Regina Caeli, “Hail Queen of Heaven.”

Even the chocolate bunnies and jellybeans offer us a sweet taste of our homecoming to the Promised Land, a land that will be flowing with milk and honey.

Our brightly colored Easter eggs are also emblems of the tomb, which today has been shattered like an eggshell. Their rainbow colors remind us of the covenant with Noah, of God’s promise made to all creatures on earth.

The game of egg rolling reminds us of the stone being rolled away from the entrance to the tomb. An egg hunt commemorates the search by the women who came to the tomb to anoint the body of the Lord. Today truly is the day that the Lord has made.