Ten extraordinary Easter events for global travellers
Hard-boiled egg battles in Durham. Smashing pots in Corfu. Noisy street parades in Brazil. Easter is celebrated around the world with all kinds of wonderful rituals, events and festivals. If you'd like to go above and beyond the usual chocolate gift exchange, here are ten extraordinary ways to enjoy this four-day weekend.
Good Friday, 19th April – Easter Monday, 22nd April 2019.
1. Fantastical Chocolate Festival
Tempted by an all-singing, all-dancing weekend of Willy Wonka style entertainment, live music and goodie bags full of Easter treats? Then take the family along to The Clapham Grand in South West London, Saturday 20th – Sunday 21st April. Chocolatiers will also be demonstrating their tempering techniques and skills – offering, of course, plenty of delicious tastings.
2. Fireworks in Florence
Meaning the 'Explosion of the Cart', the Scoppio del Carro tradition began nearly a thousand years ago. Since then, every Easter Sunday morning in Florence, a 5oo-year-old-cart is pulled into the Piazza del Duomo by flower-laden white oxen, escorted by soldiers and musicians in 15th century costume. As Gloria in Excelsis rings out from the Chiesa dei Santi Apostoli, the cardinal lights a fuse which sets off a spectacular 20-minute fireworks show.
3. Easter Hip Hop Party
If bouncing around to big, banging tunes on Easter Sunday is your idea of fun, get down to the Easter Hip Hop Party at The Pen and Pencil bar – a popular late-night restaurant in Manchester’s lively Northern Quarter. Named after the infamous 20th-century bar in New York’s ‘Steak Row’, top DJs put on an exclusive set of hip-hop, funk, soul, mellow R&B, and high-energy dance music for all the disco bunnies.
4. Sweden's open-air museum
Learn about Swedish customs and Easter traditions in Skansen, the world's oldest open-air museum. Explore houses and farmsteads to discover how Swedes lived and worked centuries ago. Meet wild Nordic animals, such as wolverines and moose, and take little ones to pet the rabbits and red voles at the Children's Zoo. There's also an Easter market where you can make decorations using blown eggs and feathers.
5. Pop Brixton's Big Egg Hunt
Join the families flocking to South London for a huge Easter Egg hunt. Organised by Pop Brixton, parents and kids can enjoy getting stuck into wild animal-themed fun. Magicians, street performers, face painters and various craft activities feature throughout the day. Then as evening falls, DJs put on a cracking after-party for the grown-ups.
6. World Jarping Championships in north-east England
To celebrate Easter in Peterlee in Durham, imagine the game of conkers – only more bonkers. The 30-year-old tradition of the World Jarping Championships attracts contestants from all over the country to compete, one-on-one, using nothing but hard-boiled eggs. The goal is to smash and crack their opponents' shells in order to 'jarp' each other out. Come along to see who claims victory in this knockout tournament.
7. Giant omelette making in France
Every Easter Monday, thousands of villagers and visitors get together in the main square of Haux in south-west France. It's all part of an attempt to maintain their unbroken record for making the world's biggest omelette. Chefs position themselves around a 12-foot cast-iron pan to cook over 5,000 eggs, mixed with over 50kg of bacon and other ingredients. Take a fork and you can grab a piece of the action.
8. Seville's Semana Santa festival
The Easter story comes to colourful life in Seville. Thousands line the streets to mark Holy Week with one of Spain's most emotional celebrations – Semana Santa. Watch marching bands and floats carrying Baroque-style sculptures depicting gospel scenes from the Passion of Christ. You'll also see people walking the streets barefoot, wearing tunics and carrying processional candles and crosses.
9. Pot smashing in Corfu
On Holy Saturday at noon in Corfu, you can join thousands of locals to hear (from a safe distance) a very noisy custom. As soon as the church bell sounds, everyone hurls decorated earthenware pots and jugs out of windows into the streets below. The pots smashing to the ground are believed to symbolise the rumble of an earthquake, like that which followed Christ's resurrection from his tomb.
10. Brazil's Sábado de Aleluia
Brazil lives to party, especially when it comes to celebrating the end of Lent. The traditional Easter festivities of Sábado de Aleluia consist of small, joyous carnivals that bring Brazilian towns to life. Get there early to find a good spot among the crowds for the Sambodromo – a mile-long parade of folk dancing and music in the streets of Rio.