It’s the time of year for painting eggs, lighting bonfires, taking part in colourful parades and devouring chocolate bunnies. The following are some of the most interesting ways Easter is celebrated across Europe.
Easter is a massive deal across Spain and at times it can feel like one great big party. Known as ‘Semana Santa’, holy week is a fun-filled public holiday packed with lots of eating and drinking.
Easter in Spain is a colourful affair where parades pass through the streets featuring elaborate reenactments of the Passion. These parades are led by Catholic cofradías, or ‘brotherhoods’, that date back to the Middle Ages.
Some of the most vibrant events take place in areas around Seville, Granada and Málaga. Spaniards come out onto the streets to celebrate with one another.
The ‘Semana Santa de Sevilla’ is famous for the procession of pasos. This emotional midnight procession features painted wooden sculptures of individual scenes between Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and his burial.
With marching bands, colourful costumes, lively music and delicious food, Spain knows how to celebrate Easter properly. 9 of the best must see sights in Seville
Want to experience a fun, lively Easter festival with a royal twist? Head straight to Amsterdam.
On April 27th each year, Dutch people come together to celebrate ‘Koningsdag’ which is King’s Day.
This is a popular national holiday that marks the birthday of King Willem-Alexander, who rules the Netherlands.
Everybody hangs national flags outside their windows and proudly wears their brightest orange colours. Expect parties, DJs and street markets galore, with Amsterdam acting as the central hub for this nationwide celebration.
Beer flows merrily along the canals and there’s an awesome collective spirit each Koningsdag in the Netherlands as the public honours their popular monarch. Guide to the best of Amsterdam's restaurants
We’re not going to exaggerate here: the annual Scoppio del Carro event held in Florence at Easter time sounds absolutely awesome.
Translated as ‘Explosion of the Cart’, it does exactly what it says on the tin. A 30-foot cart filled to the brim with fireworks is lit in the middle of the city.
After singing the Gloria in excelsis Deo hymn at the Duomo di Firenze, the Cardinal of Florence lights a dove-shaped rocket called a ‘Colombina’ (we’re not kidding) inside the church that leads all the way to the cart outside which sets off the fireworks.
Legend says that a good display during Scoppio del Carro will guarantee a good harvest and stable civic life for the people of Florence. The Explosion of the Cart is the highlight of Easter week in Florence.
There are also parades through the city and festivities finish when canisters filled with red, green, white and purple smoke are released into the air - representing the colours of Florence and Italy. A Perfect Romantic Weekend in Tuscany
Easter is one of the biggest Christian holidays and there are very few places more religious than the holy city of Lourdes – the second-most visited destination in France after Paris.
Each year there is a special torch-lit procession at Easter that leads up to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, where a marble statue of Mary sits inside the cave.
Visitors from all over the world come to see the famous statue and the concealed marble baths, which are said to contain healing spring waters that help aid the sick and injured.
Every Easter at the top of Pic du Jer there is also a special egg hunt for young children that includes egg painting sessions and chocolate rabbits. Good Lourdes! Things to do in Lourdes & the Pyrenees
This exciting Portuguese festival has been held every year at Easter time for the past 500 years.
An extravagant procession sees a statue of the Patron Saint of Mãe Soberana (Sovereign Mother) carried down to the sanctuary at the Church of São Francisco.
The high priest of the Algarve oversees a special mass at the beginning of the festival on Easter Sunday.
There is excellent, traditional music played on the streets throughout and the Sunday festivities end with fireworks displays.
The statue then stays in the church for 15 days until ‘Festa Grande’, which is another massive ceremony.
The ceremony begins with a mass held by the Bishop of the Algarve and ends when thousands of locals from the Algarve and nearby Alentejo march towards a small hill west of Loulé waving white handkerchiefs. Europe’s Strangest Easter Traditions
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