Many of the foods that were given up for Lent--including eggs, cheese, meats and coffee--are now back on the menu. In some cultures, the Easter meal is taken at breakfast, while others wait until noon or later for their traditional spread. To give your Easter celebration a global spin, we'll take you on a whirlwind tour of Easter traditions. Perhaps you’ll find some new dishes to add to your own family's celebrations.
Travel to Sweden for Easter Breakfast
Most of the Easter celebrations in Sweden take place during the Holy Week preceding Easter Sunday. On Maundy Thursday (or in some regions Easter Saturday) little girls dress up as Easter hags--witches wrapped in headscarves and dark shawls, and sporting bright red lips and cheeks--who travel from door to door (Halloween-style) handing out handmade pictures in exchange for sweets. This tradition stems from an old Swedish folk belief that witches were most powerful and destructive during the Holy Week. Come Easter Sunday, after a hard week of placating the little Easter hags, the Swedish people are ready for a proper smorgasbord.
Journey to Eastern Europe with your Easter Basket
Blessing the food to be eaten for Easter is a popular tradition in Eastern Europe. The practice finds its roots in the biblical story that tells how Jesus was recognized by two of his disciples after his death and resurrection. The two men came upon Jesus at mealtime and did not believe that he could really be alive. They were convinced that it was truly he only after he blessed the evening's food and shared their meal. In Eastern Europe, the feast day food is chosen with care and artfully packed into a large basket and covered with an embroidered cloth.
Easter Dinner in Greece
In Greece, you break your Lenten fast with an impressive spread of traditional foods. The week leading up to Easter is a solemn one, full of processions and church services. on On Maundy Thursday Easter eggs are dyed a deep red, and during Saturday's holy mass the red eggs are cracked open to recall the miracle of Christ's rebirth and resurrection. This also symbolically ushers in the fun and celebration that fill Easter Sunday. The Sunday meal begins around noon and stretches through the afternoon and into the evening.