How well do you know Easter traditions around the world?


By: J. Reinoehl

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Easter is celebrated in countries where a large number of Christians live or where Christianity is the state religion. Worldwide, over two billion people celebrate it. How well do you know what people in other countries do to celebrate Easter? Take this quiz and find out.

Palm Sunday begins the Holy Week of the Easter celebration and is named after what?

Palm Sunday, which is the Sunday right before Easter, is named after the day people worshipped Jesus with palm branches as he entered Jerusalem. At the time, the sacrificial Passover lamb would have also been entering Jerusalem. Passover was also an 8-day ceremony.


What gamey dish is eaten during Lent and Easter in Canada (especially Newfoundland and Labrador)?

At least since the 16th century, the Catholic church regards seal meat as fish. The seal flippers used in flipper pie are not the most appetizing parts of the seal and were originally only eaten by a seal hunter's family because he could not sell them for a profit.


What Good Friday food is traditionally eaten in Great Britain and its former colonies?

Hot Cross Buns are a sweet bun with spices that represent the burial spices used on Jesus. They also have white crosses on top of them. Traditionally, the crosses are cut into the bread before baking, but some modern bakeries achieve the cross effect by baking crossed lines of thinner dough into the bread, or by using frosting after baking (frosting has been around since the 1800s).


What country celebrates Easter with a "Dance of Death?"

La Danza de la Muerte is traditionally performed after dusk on the Thursday before Easter. Adults, or children dressed as skeletons, parade through town carrying different objects such as a clock, candles, scythe, or banners reminding people of their fate. One skeleton keeps time on a drum.


What is the name of the special Easter blessing for the world that the Pope gives in St. Peter's Square (Vatican City) at noon on Easter Sunday?

The Urbi et Orbi is a special address and blessing reserved only for Easter and Christmas (and immediately after a new Pope takes office). The blessing is followed by a greeting to the people of the world in several languages.


What is the name of a 12-bean soup served in Ecuador only during Holy Week?

Fanesca takes a long time to prepare, and all the fresh vegetables used in it are only fresh in the spring, so it is only made during the week preceding Easter. Devote Ecuadorians also visit seven churches on Good Friday.


What is the Easter Bilby?

In Australia, rabbits are an invasive species that cost millions in crop damage each year. As a result, there are bad feelings about the animal. For that reason, the animal representing Easter has become the native bilby, which is a marsupial, long-eared bandicoot.


The Czech traditional Beránek is a cake made in the shape of what?

People have made cakes in the shape of lambs for more than 1,000 years. It is thought they were even made as a substitute sacrifice for an animal before Christianity came to the area.


What food is traditionally a part of the most Easter celebrations around the world?

Easter eggs symbolize new life. In medieval Europe, they were dyed red to represent Christ's blood. At that time, they were frequently blessed by priests and eaten first after the Lenten fast. Many think eggs were incorporated into Christian celebrations after pagan origins, but this association appeared in the 18th century and had no historical documentation prior to that time.


In which country do children dress up as "Easter witches" and go door-to-door collecting candy?

In Sweden, Easter is purely a secular holiday and has little to do with Christianity anymore. Children dress up as witches and go around collecting candy, and many families gather for a camping weekend at a cottage in the woods or go skiing in the north. Traditional foods are cured salmon, pickled herring, and Jansson's Temptation.


What is the name of the Florence Easter ceremony where a fireworks cart in the middle of the square is set alight by a dove-shaped rocket?

Three flints brought from the Holy Land by a member of the Pazzi family are scraped together until they light a tall, thin tower. This catches the dove-shaped rocket on fire, which flies out of the church and lights the cart of fireworks on fire. If the Scoppio del Carro ceremony works as it is supposed to, it is said there will be a good harvest, and the city will have good luck.


Which annual Easter event is held on the White House lawn in the U.S.A.?

The White House Easter Egg Roll is a race pushing eggs across the lawn with spoons. Other activities include live music performances, stories read by celebrities, foods, and egg decorating. Participants are chosen by a lottery held a few weeks before the event.


In which country do devotees undergo actual crucifixion (although not to death) as a part of the Easter Good Friday celebration?

Although the government and Catholic Church leaders try to dissuade adherents from undergoing crucifixion, several people endure the treatment for thousands of spectators each year to atone for sins, give thanks to God, or receive a miracle cure. Medical personnel attends to the men when they are brought down.


In Bermuda, people celebrate Easter by flocking to the beaches on Good Friday to do what?

People fly kites of all shapes and sizes, but most of the kites are made of geometrical designs. Some say the kite represents Jesus' ascension to Heaven.


What do people in Bulgaria, Greece, and the U. K. bang together as part of an Easter contest?

Often people have their eggs blessed before participating in the contest. Two people bang their eggs together, and the one that does not crack is the winner. The winner can then be challenged by someone else until all the eggs have been cracked, except one.


What is one name for the series of images or live demonstrations of Jesus on the day he was crucified that people in many countries participate in?

There are officially 14 images that make up the Stations of the Cross, and each one has a specific prayer or reflection. Some are set up as a series of outdoor shrines, others are images hung inside churches, and still others are re-enactments that take place along roads.


What does the Queen of England traditionally do on Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter)?

Originally, the Monarch of England would wash the feet of the poor and give them food and clothing. Now, unique coins are minted, and poor people who have been nominated by their churches because of their works of service receive a bag of special "Maundy coins" and a second bag of normal money (in place of food and clothing).


In Germany, an Easter tree is usually decorated with what ornament?

The Easter tree (Osterbaum in German) is decorated with blown out eggs that have been dyed, painted, perforated, or modified in shape with clay or beads. Some families place thousands of eggs on the tree (located outside) each year.


What name do some churches use in place of "Easter?"

The 8th-century historian, Bede, stated there was a goddess named Eostre and Eostremonth was the name for April because her feasts were celebrated during that month (although he said nothing about how they worshiped her). Christians called the holiday Paschal or Pask until the 16th century when Luther and Tyndale translated "Passover" as "Easter." Since the switch, churches have debated whether or not to use the term "Easter," which could have pagan origins.


In Norway, what type of books (called Paaskekrimmen) are released on Easter?

Easter thrillers are crime novels released just for the holiday. Originally, this custom began as a publicity stunt in the 1920s.


What do people set fire to on Easter weekend in Mexico?

Initially, the effigies resembled devils. As time went on, the effigies were made to look like corrupt or disliked politicians. Effigies of Presidents Obama and Trump were both burned in some of these later ceremonies.


What chocolate-covered fondant confection appears only at Easter?

At one point, Cadbury's decided to make the eggs throughout the year, but it resulted in a drop in sales.


Which Greek island is famous for tossing pots out windows on Easter?

After two days of the three Philharmonic Societies (local bands) parading through the streets playing music, balconies are bedecked with red banners, and large clay pots filled with water are tossed into the street below. The entire thing is organized to prevent accidental injuries, and the bands resume parading through the clay shards.


Each year in Haux, France what giant thing does the community make?

Each year, the families of the town bring cracked eggs from home (over 4,500) and deposit them in a gigantic pan placed over an open fire. Town chefs take turns cooking the eggs, which serve lunch for more than 1,000 people.


What is the main difference between the day the Eastern and Western Orthodox churches celebrate Easter?

The date for Easter is movable and based on the lunisolar calendar. The official guideline is that Easter is "The Sunday following the full moon which falls on or after the equinox…" (Bede). Because the calendar used by The Eastern Orthodox church is the Julian calendar as opposed to the Western Gregorian calendar, the equinox is observed on a different date.


What is the name Protestants sometimes call an early Easter church service?

The Sunrise Service (or Sonrise Service) has occurred since the 18th century. It is sometimes held outside. Frequently, the informal service is timed so the participants can see the sunrise during it, and breakfast is usually served afterward.


What is unique about the Easter bunny hunt in New Zealand on Easter weekend?

Rabbits are just as much of an invasive pest in New Zealand as what they are in Australia, and the "Hunt" are teams of hunters who are hunting rabbits. On average, they kill 10,000 during the weekend each year, but the biggest hunt they had killed 23,400. Money raised from the event is donated to a children's charity.


The Ukranian art of decorating eggs is called what?

Pysanky uses a wax resist method to decorate eggs. In many families, the traditional methods were kept secret and passed down through the female line.


Which chick-shaped marshmallow confection is sold predominately in the U.S.A. during Easter?

Peeps are sugar-coated marshmallows produced by the Just Born company. They are an American Easter tradition that comes in both chick and bunny shapes, but they have recently appeared on other holidays in a variety of shapes representing Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine's Day. Of the 1.5 billion sold at Easter, the company estimates only 1 billion are consumed.


In many European countries, which meat is consumed on Easter Sunday?

Lamb is the traditional Passover meal meat, and it is what Jesus was eating at the Last Supper. It also ties into Jesus being the Lamb of God.


What is the name of the candlelight service that occurs on Saturday night (Easter Eve) throughout the world?

The Easter Vigil is a candlelit service on the night before Easter Sunday. The flames are said to originate from Christ's tomb and are then spread to the churches all over the Eastern Orthodox world.


What is the name of the 40-day fasting period before Easter?

The term Lent is probably a shortened form of the Old English (Anglo-Saxon) "lencten." It is derived from the word for "long" and may be a reference to the longer days that happen during Lent.


Which cheese-based food is traditionally eaten for Easter in Russia and other countries with predominately Eastern Orthodox Christians?

Paska is shaped in a mold to resemble a church (or Jesus' tomb) and frequently will have the letters XB on it. The XB stands for the Slavonic words that translate, "Christ is Risen!"


In most countries around the world, what do families gather to do on Easter?

Similar to other holidays, such as Jewish Passover, Easter celebrations often include a family meal.


What extra day off is given to Europeans as a part of the Easter celebration, but not given as a day off to most Americans?

Easter Monday is a day off for most European countries, and Good Friday is a day off in some of them, too. In America, Easter Monday is never a day off, but Good Friday is sometimes given as a day off.


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