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Easter is a holiday full of pastel colors, egg hunts, and beautiful bonnets. But there’s a lot more to it too, depending on where you live. Learn a few new traditions from Easter around the world to incorporate into your celebrations!
Easter in America
Easter in America has religious roots, certainly, but the celebration is just as much a hallmark of spring as it one of the resurrection of Jesus. States in the northern regions of America especially look to Easter as a promise of longer days and warmer temperatures to thaw out the long winter.
If you are looking to incorporate American Easter traditions into your event calendar this month try:
- An Easter bonnet parade! There are surprisingly a large number of bonnet-related songs you can play as your residents sport their handmade bonnets up and down the halls of your community. Pass out prizes for the most beautiful, most creative, most colorful, and most Easter-y bonnets.
- Host your own Easter Egg Roll. Typically, the White House hosts an egg roll to celebrate the holiday. It started with President Rutherford B. Hayes and continues today. Simply hardboil a bunch of eggs and have residents and their grandkids push an egg along a course with a long handled spoon. Of course, you can make the course in the courtyard of your community or boost it up on a table for more accessibility.
- Offer a sunrise meditation to greet the holiday. If you have a large population of Christians, you can turn this meditation moment into a prayer opportunity. Otherwise, encourage everyone who wants to join to meet you in the courtyard at sunrise for a moment of peace and quiet before greeting the busy day.
Easter in the Caribbean
Take a trip to the Caribbean islands to celebrate their Easter traditions in your community. You can incorporate any Caribbbean traditions into your community’s celebration all month long:
- Make and fly a kite. In Bermuda and Haiti, flying kites on Easter is a tradition that represents the resurrection of Jesus. Kites are typically hexagons and feature colorful shapes. You can see an example here or just allow your residents to let their own creativity shine through as they make a kite to fly or display.
- Use colorful plastic eggs to create a fortune-telling event. In some parts of the Caribbean, people crack an egg on Good Friday and collect the egg white to dry in the sun. Then, they return to see the shape the egg white has dried in and use the shape as a way to tell the future. While you can replicate the tradition this way, it might be less messy to put positive fortunes into plastic eggs that residents can crack during their Easter dinner to discover what lies ahead.
- Keep the party going with a Carnival celebration. The Caribbean celebrates Carnival beginning on Easter Monday and running for a week. Carnival brings lots of colorful clothing and costumes, parades, foods, and cocktails. Consider hosting a Carnival inspired Happy Hour on Easter Monday.
Easter in Italy
Italy has a high concentration of Catholics and Christians (including the Pope), so it’s no wonder that Easter is the second most celebrated holiday of the year, next only to Christmas. You can honor the spiritual and the secular traditions of Italy by adding a few events to your community calendar:
- Learn about the Saints. Easter Week in Italy is full of scheduled processions where friars and other people don costumes and walk the streets of the city. Even if your population is not largely Catholic, it is still interesting to learn harrowing stories of Saints, which you can use as a new learning opportunity. If you aren’t sure about leading this event on your own, invite a local Chaplain to tell the tales.
- Light fireworks or sparklers. In Florence, Italy, an Easter tradition is the Scoppio del Carrio, or “explosion of the cart”. The archbishop sends a rocket into a fireworks-filled cart at the end of mass on Easter Sunday. You don’t have to create a fire hazard to enjoy this tradition. Try sparklers in the courtyard or make your own sparklers with gold ribbons tied to dowel rods.
- Eat…a lot. Most celebrations in Italy mean a lot of great food. Consider hosting an Italian inspired Easter social full of favorites like pannetone sweet bread, colomba dove-shaped bread, and chocolate hollow eggs.
Easter in Germany
German traditions around Easter celebrate the change of seasons and the warmer days ahead. Get into the German spirit by adding any of their traditions to your community’s calendar:
- LIght a bonfire. Easter Fires are lit on Easter Sunday and Monday in Germany. This tradition started many years ago as a way to chase the winter away. You can find German towns and communities hosting Easter Fires yearly now and so can you. Buy ingredients for s’mores and break out the fire pit to chase the winter away together.
- Color eggs. Germany shares the tradition of coloring eggs with America, though in Germany it is common for friends to exchange painted eggs as gifts. Set up an egg exchange of your own at your community, having residents draw a name each and then make a colored egg to give to that person. Get the staff involved too!
- Spring clean! On Easter, it is common for Germans to spring clean their house as a symbol of getting rid of the winter’s dust and welcoming a new season. Pass out feather dusters as a party favor and encourage residents to dust the winter away in their rooms as a symbol of new beginnings.
Easter in the United Kingdom
Bring a bit of a British invasion into your community for the Easter season. While many celebrations are similar to those in America, there are some unique ways to incorporate English traditions:
- Host a Hot Cross Buns social. It’s not Easter without these toasted buns with butter. Work with your dining team to make a few versions of hot cross buns and serve with coffee for a morning or afternoon event.
- Dance around a maypole. While maypole dancing isn’t specific to Britain (it’s in other countries too), you can work on adding your own spin to the tradition. Try incorporating maypole inspired moves to your morning exercise program!
- Host an egg hunt. Perhaps one of the most popular events around the world is the egg hunt. Host your own, but add a unique twist by adding Bingo bucks or other favorite prizes to plastic eggs you hide around the community.
I’d love to hear your own community’s traditions for Easter! Tell me in the comments below and we can all learn from one another.