EASTER ACROSS CULTURES

There’s not much to add to Evelyn Borg’s delicious Easter explainer. From Good Friday processions to making figolli, from Palm Sunday blessings to the Easter Sunday sculpture parades, the formula for a Maltese Easter is set and well remembered.

Last Supper installation in Valletta from grains and pasta

Yet what are the important elements of Easter in other cultures present in Malta?

Italy: visiting friends

Did you know that a popular Italian saying goes, “At Christmas with your parents, at Easter with whomever you want”? Instead of Good Friday, Italians have a day off on Easter Monday and use it to chill out with family and friends, according to the Select Italy blog.

More Italy: colomba di Pasqua

The fluffy dove-shaped cake is made from flour, almonds, fresh egg whites, sugar, butter, and natural yeast that takes at least 30 hours to rise.

United Kingdom: children’s parade

Apparently, many children design colourful paper bonnets at school before Easter to show them off at a local parade through their town or village on Easter Monday.

More United Kingdom: games with eggs

Egg jarping is practised in some locations as a competition of tapping one hard-boiled egg against another to see which one survives intact. This tradition is present in other cultures in Europe as well. According to another local tradition, people also gather to roll Easter eggs from the top of a local hill to see whose reaches the bottom first.

Eggs, as a sign of rebirth and a symbol of Jesus’s hollow tomb, are used in many cultures to celebrate Easter. Chocolate eggs are slowly replacing real ones.

Philippines: reenacting crucifixion

You may have seen it in the news: Good Friday in the Philippines is observed reenacting the suffering of Jesus Christ, from the flagellation to the crucifixion. Some devotees go as far as allow themselves to be nailed to the cross, reenacting Jesus’ crucifixion. The church does not endorse this ritual, but many devout believers still think this is the best way to express gratitude or ask for forgiveness.

It is also common to make make a panata, a vow to participate in certain devotions, or to abstain from smoking, drinking or meat during the Easter week.

Further reading: 5 things you probably didn’t know about Easter