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Easter around the World

With Easter approaching, we look at the traditions around the world and explore how different cultures celebrate this religious festival.

A traditional procession in Jerusalem

Jerusalem is an obvious place to start; where Judaism’s Passover and Christian Easter come together for Holy Week. Good Friday is perhaps the most notable day, with a multitude of different nationalities flood the streets on Holy pilgrimage, making processions around the 14 stations of the cross where Jesus was crucified.

In Mexico, a pious celebration is also made with processions dressed in biblical clothing flowing through the streets, gathering at the cathedrals with floats carrying images of Jesus on.

Easter in Spain is particularly notable, as business comes to a standstill across much of the country slows to a stand still for Holy Week. The Semanta Santa is one of Europe’s oldest festivals and dates back to the 17th Century. To this day, the “penitentes” (penitent ones) wear the traditional robes  with cone headdress that creates a remarkable and haunting impression.

Easter in Spain: Penitents wear traditional robes called capirotes

On our tour of Easter around the world, we couldn’t miss out Antigua, where they put on a colourful celebration for Holy Week each year. As in Spain and Mexico, the whole community get involved, spending days creating intricate “alfombras” designs made from petals and coloured saw dust – that carpet the streets. These are beautiful creations but fragile ones, made for the procession to walk over during the passion play, symbolically destroying the designs.

Patience: alfombras take hours to create and moments to destroy