In addition to great candy and a top-notch bunny mascot, Easter has excellent timing: the holiday often ushers in spring break and pleasant weather. IgoUgo members who have traveled at Easter recommend eight wonderful places for experiencing new traditions and local cultures.
Photo by airynfaerie
In Florence, catch the “mayhem” that is the Scoppio del Carro, or "Explosion of the Cart.” In Bari and other southern towns, participate in fare i sepolcri--just don’t enter an even number of churches. And in Rome, head for the Colosseum on Good Friday for a special Stations of the Cross event.
Photo by Sandroulla
Orthodox Easter brings “pageantry and drama” to Athens, though smaller villages are also “shaken by fireworks and firecrackers.” Everywhere in the country, the traditions of Megali Evdomada, or Holy Week, are “moving to watch.”
Photo by smileskey
In towns like Tegucigalpa, locals spend Holy Week creating “beautiful sand and sawdust carpets” on miles of road; eventually clergy walk “replicas of Jesus, Mary, and the disciples” over the intricate designs until the colors run together in an “awesome" display.
Photo by fionademp
Guatemala's streets are also decorated with colored sand; in Flores, a figure of Jesus is “carried by local women, all wearing heels and in their fifties.” And in Antigua, famous Stations of the Cross draw “great crowds.”
Photo by auskiwi
Sydney stages its Royal Easter Show from April 1-14 this year; the annual event features rides, parades, and contests like the “always popular” wood-chopping competition.
Photo by datnurse
The season that starts with “Egg Day” in San Miguel de Allende culminates in effigy burning (La Quema de Judas) in Zacatecas and rather “shocking” processions in Taxco.
Photo by catsholiday
Cusco’s Plaza de Armas fills with “about 10,000 people” as a “huge parade of holy statues” makes its way from the cathedral to a church.
Photo by Wasatch
The Old Town Square in Prague fills with red tents and egg-decorated trees for Easter, but the real highlights, say many visitors, are the food and drinks on offer.
Comment by Overlander on April 2, 2010
You missed out another: La Semana Santa in Popayan, Colombia. Was there for it in 1977. Extraordinary. Processions of penitents carry life size statues of Christ and various saints in recumbent position from chapels several kilometers up in the hills down into the city's main square and converge on the cathedral. People come from throughout the Hispanic world for the occasion.
Comment by midtownmjd on April 2, 2010
Thanks for adding--that sounds like an amazing sight! Having celebrated Carnival in Barranquilla, Colombia, last year, I can imagine that La Semana Santa is quite a celebration as well!