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Easter in EuropeStory: Easter customs in France
Posted on Sunday, May 01 @ 11:58:25 CDT
Topic: Easter in Europe

In old times the tradition was that people offer eggs to each other on Easter, because since eating eggs was not allowed during Lent (the 40 days before Easter), many eggs were available at Easter...

Poor people used to offer simple eggs, but the nobility modified that tradition and had eggs decorated with precious material like gold. However, this tradition has disappeared, since almost nobody is observing Lent in France now. Only the holy Friday remains in a significant number of families, with no meat or eggs served, though it is also disappearing.

Since the Friday, the day when Jesus died, no bells will ring in any of the churches. The grown ups tell children that itís because they have gone to Roma to bless some chocolate eggs and that on Sunday they come back and drop the eggs in the garden. Then the children go and hunt the eggs. In addition of that, people used to offer bigger chocolate eggs, bells and bunnies to eah other.

As you can see, there is little connection with religion: nowadays, French people have lost the deeper meaning of Easter and it has become something like a non-religious event. It is merely an occasion for the families to gather and spend the whole day together. That day, the traditional meal is lamb.

In the countryside, especially in oversea departments and eastern regions like Alsace people are more religious, and they go to celebrations from Thursday to Sunday. On Thursday, there is the celebration of the last meal of Jesus, the Friday, there is a celebration of the Way of the Cross and everyone participates in it, on Saturday, there is a celebration which lasts about four hours, called the Easter Watch and then on Sunday there is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After this celebration, the family gathers and the chocolate eggs hunt takes place.

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