Europesure's Guide To Easter Celebrations Around The World

June 7, 2023

Travellers can be immersed in many exciting parades and festivals around the world this spring, as thousands come together to celebrate the Christian festival and cultural holiday of Easter, which marks the resurrection and the end of Lent.  To enjoy these spectacles safely, just do some careful planning, check out the risks of each location and buy your Europesure travel insurance policy in advance.  To inspire your choices, here are some suggestions.

France

Travellers can be immersed in many exciting parades and festivals around the world this spring, as thousands come together to celebrate the Christian festival and cultural holiday of Easter, which marks the resurrection and the end of Lent.  To enjoy these spectacles safely, just do some careful planning, check out the risks of each location and buy your Europesure travel insurance policy in advance.  To inspire your choices, here are some suggestions.

Italy

Italy's Easter celebrations are world-renowned and visitors can expect a mix of traditional rituals and some more unusual events.  On the morning of Easter Sunday in Florence, a multi-storey-high, 500-year-old cart, pulled by white oxen and decorated with the first flowers and herbs of spring, moves from the Porta al Prato to the Piazza del Duomo's porch, for the Scoppio del Carro (‘the explosion of the cart’) ritual.  

A holy candle is ignited by a priest before the cart begins its journey, using three medieval flints brought back from the Crusades.  This candle then lights some coals, carried on the cart, which represent a holy fire.  The cart is then accompanied by 150 soldiers, drummers and musicians, in traditional 15th century dress, for this vibrant and lively event, as it makes its way to the cathedral.

At the end of Easter Mass, the holy fire is then used to light a mechanical dove (the Colombina), situated at the altar and symbolising the Holy Spirit.  This flies along a wire, to collide with the firework-rigged cart outside, setting off a brilliant firework display.  Fireworks last for around 20 minutes and the successful lighting of them signifies that there will be a good harvest and good year for Florence.

For something a little more unusual on Easter Monday, visitors to the village of Panicale in the region of Umbria will discover the Ruzzolone or 'rolling the cheese' competition, said to be over 3000 years old and originating during Etruscan times. 

This is a true spectacle, in which players attach a large, leather strap with a wooden handle around a nine-pound wheel of pecorino cheese, which is then launched through the curvy streets of the stone-wall surrounded village.  Spectators run after the cheese and its final resting place is marked with a piece of chalk.  The winning team is the one that manages to move the cheese with the least amount of throws and gets to keep the cheese.  If the cheese breaks, however, which it often does, everyone gets to eat it.

Spain

In Seville, 58 Catholic processions take place in the evening, and during the night, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, during the Semana Santa de Sevilla. Around 50,000 people don traditional robes and walk alongside the church brotherhoods or 'confradias', who carry ornate statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary on their shoulders, drawn from each local church, to the huge Gothic cathedral and back.  Brass bands provide a sombre soundtrack and singers perform 'saetas' (Andalusian religious songs) from the balconies, in tribute to the Virgin Mary.

Greece

Look to the skies in Leonidio, in the province of Kynouria (three hours from Athens). at Easter, as the town's five parishes release hundreds of colourful, handmade balloons in prayer and celebration, for the night of the Resurrection on Holy Saturday.  The balloons are made of reed paper and are lovingly lit, before they gently float into the night sky, to create a truly spectacular sight.

Germany

Marking the day on which St George, the patron saint of horsemen, was martyred, riders on horseback embark on a traditional procession in rural regions of Bavaria. The most popular of these takes place in the city of Traunstein, on Easter Monday, and is called the ‘Georgiritt’, or the Saint George Ride. 

400 hundred riders and their beautifully decorated horses, as well as dancers and musicians dressed in traditional Bavarian costumes, create a pilgrimage procession to the Ettendorfer chapel.  Once a priest has given his blessing, a swordsman's dance commences, representing the victory of spring over winter.

This is just a flavour of the Easter events that can be enjoyed across Europe.  If you travel to any, enjoy them safely and travel light, leaving valuables securely back at your accommodation, rather than potentially losing them in the throng. 

If you intend to sample some delicious local food whilst enjoying the celebrations, be careful and only indulge if you are sure it isn’t likely to result in any tummy trouble.  Also avoid ice in your drinks, unless you are pretty certain it won’t be an issue.

Above all, make sure you book your travel insurance in advance, as soon as your trip is in the diary, so that your cancellation cover will be in place straight away.  Head to www.europesuretravelinsurance.com to choose the right package for you.

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