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Easter in Canada

 

Easter is one of the major festivals in Canada. Apart from the religious observations, Easter celebrations in Canada are marked by popular Easter traditions such as Easter egg hunts and egg decoration. In Canada, egg decorating is usually an activity done with children at school or home and the eggs are simply displayed for decorative purposes. The traditional Easter egg hunts are held by community organizations.

 

The Quebec City Winter Carnival in Quebec, Canada, is one of the prominent pre-Lent carnivals held in different parts of the world. This winter-themed carnival is dependent on good snowfalls and cold weather to keep snowy ski trails in good condition and the many ice sculptures intact. Hence instead of relying on the lunar based Easter celebration, the carnival date is fixed on the last days of January and first days of February of the solar calendar. Besides the carnival parade, the Winter Carnival features special sporting events such as skating, skiing, and tobogganing.

 

Vegreville, Canada is the site of the largest Easter egg in the world. The Easter egg or Ukrainian 'Pysanka,' was constructed in 1975 to commemorate early Ukrainian settlements in an area east of Edmonton. Designed by Professor Ronald Resch, the unique nature and complicated geometry of the egg shape made the design of the Pysanka a highly complex undertaking.

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Easter in Italy

 

The deep influence of tradition and ritual in Italian culture is reflected in celebrations such as Easter. Known as La Pasqua, Easter celebration in Italy is marked by many rites observed throughout the country that have their roots in ancient pagan rituals. The Holy Week celebrations across Italy reflect regional differences, and are remnants of religion, peasant lore and pagan influences.

 

On Palm Sunday the churches are bedecked with baskets of palms and olive branches and once they have been blessed by the priest they are given out to the congregations. Thousands of people throng the St. Peters Square on Palm Sunday to receive the palms blessed by the Pope after Mass has ended. On Giovedi Santo or Holy Friday, many churches re-enact the ceremony of the washing of the feet at the altar.

 

Among the myriad of Easter traditions in Italy, Scoppio del Carro, meaning explosion of the cart, is the most spectacular one. For over 300 years the Easter celebration in Florence has included this ritual, during which an elaborate wagon, a structure built in 1679 and standing two to three stories high, is dragged through Florence behind a fleet of white oxen decorated in garlands.

 

Like in many other countries, in Italy the fasting of Lent is preceded by a carnival with colorful pageants, masquerades, dancing, music and all kinds of merrymaking. The Carnevale begins in January and lasts until Ash Wednesday. The activities and merriment of Carnevale precede the somber overtones of the Lenten season.

 

The Easter dinner is usually a sumptuous feast arranged with special delicacies. The most important dish is agnellino, roasted baby lamb. Eggs feature prominently in the day's dishes, in both soups such as Brodetto Pasquale, a broth-based Easter soup thickened with eggs, and in many breads, both sweet and savory.

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Easter in the Netherlands

 

Easter in Netherlands is marked by carnivals that precede the fasting season of Lent. Preparations for the carnivals begin the previous year on 11th day of the 11th month, when a council of 11 meets to fine-tune the carnival plans. Carnivals feature colorful celebrations with dances, parades and masquerade balls. In each town a person is elected prince of the Carnival and he is handed the keys to the city.

 

On Palm Zondag or Palm Sunday children scour the neighboring farms to collect eggs for the Easter sports. While setting out for the task, kids carry a decorated stick known as a Palmpaas or Easter "palm". This stick is attached to a hoop which is covered with boxwood and adorned with colored paper flags, egg shells, sugar rings, oranges, raisins, figs and baked dough figures or swans or cocks.

 

In the eastern regions of the Netherlands, village folks light an Easter bonfire on some hill or high point. In order to gain a headstart, people start collecting wood for the fires weeks in advance as each area tries to outdo each other by building the biggest bonfire.

 

On Easter Sunday, families gather for the traditional Easter meal. The table is decorated with colored eggs and spring flowers and Paasbrood, which is a sweet bread with raisins and currants, is one of the special foods traditionally served at Easter.

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Easter in Sweden

 

Like in many Scandinavian countries, Easter in Sweden is devoid of its religious connotations and is mostly looked upon as an occasion for festivity. People do attend church prayers but most of them look forward to the long Easter weekend as an opportunity for family reunion or a vacation in the beaches.

 

Påskkärringar or Easter witches is a unique Eastertide tradition in Denmark. Children dressed up as Easter witches with long skirts, colorful headscarves and painted red cheeks, go from house to house in the neighborhood and present the occupants with paintings and drawings in the hope of getting sweets in return. According to Swedish folklore, during Easter the witches fly to Blåkulla (Blue Mountain) to meet the devil.

 

The traditional Easter brunch consists of different varieties of pickled herring, cured salmon and Jansson's Temptation (potato, onion and pickled sprats baked in cream). The table is often laid like a traditional smörgåsbord. Spiced schnapps is also a feature of the Easter table. At dinner, people eat roast lamb with potatoes au gratin and asparagus or some other suitable side dish.

 

Decorated birch twigs are a common sight in Swedish homes during Easter. As a reminder of Christ's suffering, young people would lash each other with silver birch twigs on the morning of Good Friday. These silver birch branches, decorated with brightly colored feathers, were the originator of both the Lent and Easter decorated branches.

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Easter in England

 

Easter celebration in England is a low-key affair as people prefer religious observations to joyous merriment. Easter is an occasion for sober worship and quiet family gatherings sans the extravagance that accompanies festivals like Christmas. Nevertheless springtime celebrations are gleefully observed in rural hinterland of the country.

 

In many parts of England troupes of dancers called "Morris Dancers" perform on Easter Sunday. These troupes of dancers, almost exclusively male, perform old spring dances to frighten away the veil spirits of winter. The dancers wear white shorts, red sashes, black trousers and straw hats with lots of flowers and streamers. Red and green ribbons and little bells are tied onto the dancers.

 

English villages, with their quaint charm, provide the perfect backdrop for witnessing traditional Easter traditions. The village church will be bedecked with fresh flowers and the village Easter Bunny will hide Easter eggs for the local children to find during the traditional Easter egg hunt. The village bakery will offer fragrant hot cross buns warm from the oven and Simnel cakes with home made marzipan.

 

In the town of Olney pancake races have been held on Shrove Tuesday for over 500 years.

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the most famous Easter Eggs are the Faberge egs! They were made by Peter Carl Fabergé and his assistants between 1885 and 1917. There were 69 different eggs but only 61 survived! from the 69 eggs, the 54 were Imperial eggs. Only 46 have survived. They were Easter gifts from the Tzar to his wife!

Fabergé and his goldsmiths designed and constructed the first egg in 1885. It was commissioned by Tsar Alexander III of Russia as an Easter surprise for his wife Maria Fyodorovna.[4]

 

On the outside it looked like a simple egg of white enamelled gold, but it opened up to reveal a golden yolk. The yolk itself had a golden hen inside it, which in turn had a tiny crown with a ruby hanging inside, reminiscent of the matryoshka nesting dolls.

 

Empress Maria was so delighted by this gift that Alexander appointed Fabergé a "Court Supplier" and commissioned an Easter gift each year thereafter, stipulating only that it be unique and contain a surprise. His son, Nicholas II of Russia continued the tradition, annually presenting an egg each spring to his wife Alexandra Fyodorovna as well as his then-widowed mother.

 

From 1885, these eggs where produced almost every year!!!

 

For more info, visit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faberg%C3%A9_egg

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Now something about a tradition of Easter in England! It has to do with a special series of Silver coins, called Maundy money. they are minted during Easter!

I will place the story about them right now!

 

History of the Maundy ceremony

 

The present-day Maundy ceremony has evolved over the centuries and bears little relationship to the original rites to which it owes its origins. A fundamental aspect of the original Maundy service was the washing of the feet of the poor, which has its origins in Jesus' washing of the feet of the Disciples at the Last Supper. In early ceremonies, senior clergymen would wash the feet of lower clergy, while in other ceremonies, the washing would be done by someone higher up the hierarchical order.

King Edward II (1307-1327) seems to be the first English monarch to have been recorded actively taking part in the ceremony, although King John (1199-1216) is said to have taken part in a ceremony in about 1210 donating small silver coins to the poor. King Edward III (1327-1377) washed feet and gave gifts including money to the poor; the practice continued regularly, with the participation of the monarch, until 1698.

Although the monarch did not participate personally, later ceremonies continued in which a selection of people were given Maundy money consisting of silver pennies totalling, in pence, the current age of the monarch. The washing of feet ended after the 1736 ceremony, until it was re-instated in the 2003 ceremony when it was performed by the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

In 1932 King George V agreed to take part personally in the distribution of the Maundy money, while the 1936 set was distributed by King Edward VIII although the coins bore George V's effigy. By 1953 it had become normal practice for the monarch to distribute the Maundy money, a practice which continues to this day.

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Well, I have to go to bed! Iti s almost day here in Greece! I ned some sleep!!! :unsure:

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