The Easter break usually signals the first big getaway of the year for holidaymakers. Whilst staying at home and indulging in one too many Easter treats maybe eggs-tremely appealing, the Great British Weather has certainly put a bit of a dampener on a long-weekend at home. So if you are looking for “cheep” holidays abroad this Easter, why not combine your trip with seeing how our continental cousins celebrate this special time of year.
Catch the pigeon in Italy
The Italians in general take Easter a lot more seriously, with even the smallest village engaging in solemn processions to mark the holiday’s religious significance. However they also like to fire things into the air at this time of year. In Duomo, this consists of a small rocket that flies from a carriage and ignites a spectacular firework show. The citizens in Greve in Chianti however have taken this to another surreal level by having a plastic rocket pigeon, propelled by a firework, shooting over the heads of residents in the village square, often to wild applause.
Getting there – Florence – depart March 30th from London, two nights, including flights & 4*hotel from £329*
You can stand under my umbrella
In Hungary the capital turns into Budasplash during Easter. Don’t be alarmed though if you are anticipating a wet weekend, women are advised to take an umbrella with them, wear wellies and a rain coat, only because tradition dictates that men pour a big splash of water over them!
Getting there – Budapest - depart March 30th March from London, two nights, including flights & 4* hotel. from £259*
Sculptures in Spain
Easter in Spain sees numerous processions taking place across the country. Seville has probably one of the most famous ones, which takes place in the Semana Santa, the Holy Week. Soak up the atmosphere with thousands of locals as the procession goes past, lit by flickering candles, large crosses, waving flags, opulent canopies and ornate sculptures.
Getting there – Seville – depart March 28th from London for two nights, including flights and 4* hotel from £559*
The sweet sound of bells
Shush… whisper it quietly but in France they like to celebrate Easter in a more subdued manner. Church bells remain silent as traditionally on Good Friday they all fly off to the Vatican to be blessed, before returning on Easter Sunday to ring loud and proud. But it is not just a papal blessing they return with, they drop delicious sweets from the sky which are searched for carefully by the local children, in the French version of an Easter Egg hunt.
Getting there – Paris – depart March 30th from London for two nights, including flights and a 4* hotel from £229*
Branch out this Easter
One of the most surprising Easter traditions can be found in the Czech Republic where women are whipped with willow branches. Now before you start thinking Fifty Shades of Grey, this is done with rather more taste, as the idea of being whipped is that it brings heath and youth to the participating woman (and it is consensual!). The branches are actually called pomlázka, which translates as “make younger”
Getting there – Prague – depart March 30th from London, for two nights, including flights and a 4* hotel from £269*
Hang on, which holiday is it again?
If you visit Finland, you might be in for a spooky surprise at Easter, as there celebrations seem to follow more closely to the Halloween format.
If you thought Easter bunnies could be scary, be prepared to see the kids dressed up as creepy looking witches with their faces covered with soot. Disguised, they carry out a creepier form of a traditional Easter Egg hunt, as they stroll through the streets begging for treats.
Getting there – Helsinki – depart March 30th from London, for two nights, including flights and a 4* hotel from £319
Do you know of any weird and wonderful Easter traditions from around the world? If so let us know by leaving a comment below!
*All packages are subject to and limited availability, based on 2 people sharing room only, double bedrooms, departing London airports. All prices correct at time of search 21/03/2013. All packages ATOL protected.