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Easter Traditions from Around the World

By Megan Rash

Whether it is gathering for religious services, Easter egg hunts, or brunch, Easter is usually spent surrounded by people you love. While you may have certain family traditions during the holiday, many cultures around the world also have their own, such as drinking homemade Tej, dressing up pets in costume for blessings, or making tamales! We’re sharing some traditions and celebrations from around the globe, highlighting the cultures of many Miles4Migrants passengers.

Ethiopian Tej
Photo by Lynn Houghton

Ethiopia

Fasika, as Easter is known in Ethiopia, is held a week later than on Western calendars. For Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, Fasika is more important than Christmas and consists of weeks of preparation, festivals, music, and religious celebrations. On Fasika, the church services last until 3am. Fasika ends a 55 day fasting period where observers abstain from meat and eggs, so the festivities are full of rich traditional food and drinks, including Tej. Tej wine is a homemade honey alcohol that typically takes 4 to 5 weeks to completely ferment, meaning you will be drinking it after Easter, but it would be a fun project for the day! A step-by-step recipe can be found on Henry Kloman’s website. If you want to learn more about Ethiopian Easter, check out Roots Ethiopia, an NGO focused on community-based solutions for improving schools and education in Ethiopia.

To date, Miles4Migrants has flown 44 Ethiopian passengers.

Nicaraguan dog
INTI OCON/AFP/Getty Images
Nicaragua

Nicaragua celebrates Semana Santa, which means “Holy Week.” Starting on Precesión de la Burrita, Palm Sunday, the whole country participates in a week-long series of celebrations, rituals, and festivals. Religious services, like the Service of Darkness, are long standing traditions in Nicaragua. However, the week is also celebrated with art and music, and a lot of relaxation. One of the most unique and fun traditions is in Masaya when people bring their dogs dressed in costumes to the mass of San Lázaro. The origins of the celebration are drawn from biblical texts, but now incorporate entertaining activities, such as the “Best Dressed Dog” competition. If you want some amazing dog in costume photos check out the Latin Times article! To learn more about Nicaragua’s Easter traditions and Semana Santa, you can read more about it on Nicaragua’s tourism website. If you do not have a dog or pet to dress up in costume for Easter, you can definitely partake in the relaxation tradition.

At Miles4Migrants, we have flown 42 Nicaraguans to their new homes, as of writing.

Guatemalan tamales
Guatemala

Easter in Guatemala is celebrated with large parades and processions, festivals, art, and food. One of the largest processions is the university parade, which dates back to 1898. Parade marchers wear hoods to cover their identity and make fun of politics and bring light to injustices Guatemalans currently are facing. Easter food which takes weeks to prepare is the “gift” families receive. If you are looking to incorporate a new meal in your celebration, make sure to include traditional Guatemalan tamales wrapped in leaves and cooked over a fire. The Antigueña Spanish Academy has posted an easy-to-follow recipe that includes photos and a brief history on tamales.

Miles4Migrants has flown 237 Guatemalan passengers to date.

AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Pakistan

Unfortunately, not everywhere can Easter celebrations be celebrated openly. In Pakistan, crimes against religious minorities have caused a severe humanitarian crisis. Christians, part of the religious minority in Pakistan, are subjected to persecution and violence. In 2016, a sucide-bombing of an Easter celebration in Lahore killed over 70 people and injured over 300. The BBC article, “Why Are Pakistan’s Christians Being Targeted?” details more about the religious discrimination occurring in Pakistan. While news outlets share stories of Pakistani Christians celebrating religious holidays in fear, many Christians parade through cities like Karachi on Palm Sunday, waving palm branches and boldly celebrating triumph amidst persecution. Church celebrations continue to be well-attended.

To date, Miles4Migrants has flown 6 Pakistani passengers.

Even though Easter has passed for many who celebrate, it’s never too late to try some different global traditions in your own home. Send us a note about how your family celebrates Easter and other Spring holidays!

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