Easter around the world

The English word Easter, though it has come to designate a Christian holiday, actually takes its name from the pagan festival of Eostre, goddess of spring, and has roots deep in Anglo-Saxon mythology. Easter is also timed to coincide with the Jewish feast of Passover. It comes like a breath of spring, marking the return of the planting and lambing seasons.

For the Christian world, Easter is the commemoration of Jesus’s resurrection, observed on the first Sunday after the full moon following the spring equinox, which can fall anywhere between March 22 and April 25. But for those who love food, it is also a holiday associated with chocolate, painted eggs and big family meals. Early on Easter morning children get up and search the house for eggs and other treats left by the Easter bunny… the eggs and the rabbit itself are ancient symbols of fertility and springtime rebirth.

In Alsace

Easter means the arrival of asparagus, morels and crayfish. It brings suckling lamb and new vegetables… Emile Jung shares some thoughts for Easter and for spring in the kitchen. On the menu: Baeckeofe and hop sprouts.

In Austria

When bunnies lay eggs at Easter… This isn’t the opening line of a fairy tale, but rather a charming tradition that delights all Austrian children on Easter morning.

In Bayonne

Plan to attend the ham fair, a food lover’s delight from Holy Thursday to the Eve of Easter.

In Corsica

At Easter you won’t find lamb here, much less ham, but rather tender roast kid.

In Finland

The most famous dessert is mämmi, a recipe that dates back to the Middle Ages, when it was prepared in a bark container.

In Germany

Though Easter eggs are most often brought by the Easter bunny, he is sometimes replaced by the hare. But in Tyrol you’ll find a chicken and in the Hanover region a cuckoo… a rooster in Bavaria, and fox in Thuringia and Westphalia.

In Great Britain

Aside from eggs and chocolate bunnies, the best-known English Easter food is probably the hot cross bun.

In Greece

A braided bread called tsoureki, decorated with red eggs, is served when the clock strikes midnight to announce Christ’s resurrection.

In Italy

Neapolitans resurrect their love for sweets with Pastiera, a pie filled with ricotta and candied fruit, while the Milanese serve bread in the shape of a dove.

In Russia

Easter is by far the most important feast in the Russian Orthodox Church. Many of the symbols of this celebration are already familiar, like the gorgeous folk-art Easter eggs, kulich and pashka.

In Sweden

On Holy Thursday, the famous “Easter witches” arrive…


Danish – Paaske

Dutch – Pasen

German – Ostern

German (Lower Rhine) – Paisken

Greek – Pasxa

Irish – Cáisc

Italian – Pasqua

Latin – Pascha or Festa Paschalia

Portuguese – Páscoa

Romanian – Pasti

Scots – Pask

Spanish – Pascua

Swedish – Påsk