Easter Traditions Explained

From chocolate eggs to flying bells, find out about historical Easter traditions around the world

By Google Arts & Culture

You might have been on an Easter egg hunt before or eaten a chocolate bunny to celebrate the holiday, but how much do you know about where Easter traditions came from?

Girls searching for Easter eggs by Ariel Skelley

Decorating trees and branches

Everyone is familiar with the Christmas tree, but not so much with its springtime cousin, the Easter tree.

Colorful handmade Eastereggs on an apple tree by Kerrick

Towns in Germany and Austria have been known for these colorful creations. Discover more about these Easter tree traditions...

Easter eggs hanging from a tree by Axel Bauersachs / EyeEm

Spring flowers

All around the world, Easter is celebrated in different ways, but there's one colorful element that is universally included... the flower! 

trumpet daffodilOriginal Source: find out more garden navigator

As Easter coincides with the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, lilies, tulips, daisies, and daffodils have become popular Easter flowers. Find out more about how this tradition has bloomed all over the world.

La Merced church procession on Good Friday morning (2017-04-17) by Alena Gamm / EyeEm (Getty Images)

Easter pastries, cakes, and bread

It’s not clear why it’s a tradition to eat sweetened bread at Easter, but people don’t usually mind an excuse to enjoy a delicious pastry.

Easter: kulich, daffodils, and wine by Panga Natalie Ukraine (Getty Images)

One baked good that is popular at Easter is the hot cross bun: a sweet, spiced bread made with raisins or sultanas. Have a look at the tasty traditions around the world.

Close up of plate of scones by Debby Lewis-Harrison

Chocolate eggs and bunnies

Rewind to 200 years ago and the only eggs you would find at Easter were real ones. By the 19th century however, French and German confectioners hatched a clever plan to create a sweeter treat.

Decorated chocolate Easter egg by Paul Williams - Funkystock

By the time Cadbury started making chocolate eggs in 1905, this tradition had gone global. Fast forward to present day, millions of chocolate eggs are enjoyed every year in the UK alone. Discover the story of how chocolate makers cracked Easter.

Chocolate Easter eggs by Sally Anscombe

Easter egg hunts

Children around the world might be familiar with the frenzied hunt for chocolate eggs hidden by the Easter Bunny.

Girls searching for Easter eggs by Ariel Skelley

This developed from a Christian Easter tradition – which commemorates the resurrection of Jesus – to incorporate the Easter Bunny. Find out more about how the bunny hopped into Easter celebrations around the world.

Postcard:Easter Greeting (1909)The Strong National Museum of Play

The Easter Bilby

Move over Easter Bunny, there’s a new creature in town! In Australia, it’s all about the Easter Bilby, a small marsupial with long ears, a pointy snout, a black and white tail, and greyish fur.

Greater Bilby by Howard HughesAustralian Museum

As rabbits weren't a native species and caused huge amounts of environmental damage when Europeans brought them over in 1788, it's no surprise that Aussie’s decided to celebrate the bilby instead. Get to know more about this rabbit-eared bandicoot.

Easter Bilby by Helene Leroux

The flying bells of Easter

Although church bells are pretty busy in France most of the year, on the Thursday before Easter, they fall silent.

Easter Bells by Helene Leroux

Why? Because according to tradition, they’ve sprouted wings and flown to Italy to be blessed and collect colored eggs and chocolate to distribute to children back in France. Discover more about the unique way France traditionally rings Easter in.

Journey of the bells to Rome, allegorical drawing (2017-02-02) by Grandville

Easter egg dyeing and carving

To the relief of dentists, not all Easter celebrations involve eating sugar. In fact, in many places around the world it’s far more common to decorate a real egg.

Easter eggsThe Polish Museum in Rapperswil

This is a much-beloved activity for families around the globe, who also have varying decorating traditions unique to their culture. Find out more about how the egg comes out of its shell at Easter.

Denison Easter Egg Project by Thomas McavoyLIFE Photo Collection

Learn more about Easter traditions around the world. Happy Easter!

Polish pisanki traditional Easter eggs (2016) by Artur Widak/NurPhoto

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