Easter Traditions Explained

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

By Google Arts & Culture

Coloured Easter eggs (2019) by Monika GrabkowskaSlovenian Tourist Board

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

Colorful handmade Eastereggs on an apple tree by Kerrick

Decorating trees and branches

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

Easter eggs hanging from a tree by Axel Bauersachs / EyeEm

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

trumpet daffodilOriginal Source: find out more garden navigator

Spring flowers

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

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

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.

Easter: kulich, daffodils, and wine by Panga Natalie Ukraine (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.

Close up of plate of scones by Debby Lewis-Harrison

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.

Decorated chocolate Easter egg by Paul Williams - Funkystock

Chocolate eggs and bunnies

Rewind 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.

Chocolate Easter eggs by Sally Anscombe

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.

Children on an Easter Egg Hunt by Helen Marsden (Getty Images)

Easter egg hunts

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

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

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.

Greater Bilby by Howard HughesAustralian Museum

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 gray fur.

Greater Bilby (Macrotis lagotis) (2014)United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26

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.

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

The flying bells of Easter

In France, on the Thursday before Easter, church bells fall silent. Why? According to tradition, they’ve sprouted wings and flown to Italy to collect colored eggs to distribute to children back in France. Discover more about this unique tradition.

Easter eggsThe Polish Museum in Rapperswil

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.

Denison Easter Egg Project by Thomas McavoyLIFE Photo Collection

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.

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From chocolate treats to flying bells, learn about the history of Easter traditions
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