Easter foods & traditions around the globe

Easter foods & traditions around the globe

Bunnies, brunch or both? The Easter holiday is April 16th this year—how will you celebrate? (If you need ideas, try these Five No-Stress Easter Side Dish Recipes!)

In North America, many of us host a family Easter brunch, some after the Sunday church service. Traditional favorites include glazed baked ham, roasted lamb, boiled or Deviled Eggs, and brunch classics such as quiche, frittata and sausage-and-egg scramble casseroles. Many hard boil eggs, color, and decorate them and have the Easter Bunny hide them for the little ones to find in the garden.

In the rest of the world, many countries make their own signature Easter bread.

Here’s what others tuck into around the globe:


In the UK, folks have been making sticky, sweet ‘n spiced Hot Cross Buns for Easter for hundreds of years. Apparently, if you share them with a friend, it’ll cement the relationship… Nowadays, Brits serve Hot Cross Buns filled with raisins and criss-crossed in icing as teacake on Good Friday—Canadians as well. Then on Sunday, they prepare roast lamb, boiled eggs, spiced Easter biscuits with currants and lemon zest, and Simnel, a fruit cake with 11 or 12 marzipan balls on top usually enjoyed with tea.


In Naples, locals have been making a symbolic crown-shaped bread stuffed with eggs, salami and cheese called casatiello for centuries. Other traditional Italian dishes are lamb and a baked goat entrée with potatoes and peas, then pastiera (Easter cake) for dessert or Colomba di Pasqua (“Easter Dove”), a bird-shaped cake-bread similar to panettone with candied fruit peel and a crunchy almond-pearl sugar crust.


In Spain, it’s about doughnuts. First, there’s the special Easter cake for holy week called Mona de Pasqua, which looks like an oversized doughnut with a hardboiled egg popped into the center, secured with a dough X. Then, there’s rosquillas: doughnuts made with fermented flour, either fried or baked, and laced with sugar, rosemary or anise liqueur, depending on the local preference.


Russians eat and decorate with eggs traditionally colored with red onionskins. They prepare Kulich, a tall cake frosted and adorned with sprinkles and baked in a coffee can or large soup can, and the Russian Orthodox paskha, a custard dessert shaped like a pyramid, dotted with almond slices and decorated with religious symbols.


The Ukrainians paint intricate designs on their red-dyed eggs and enjoy several traditional edibles: paska, a beautiful, tall bread formed into pretty swirls and shapes, and cookie crumb-dusted cheesecake called Syrnyk. Similar to the Russian paskha, it’s pyramid-shaped and decorated with Easter symbols.


Spiced bread pudding spiked with symbolic religious ingredients such as cloves, raisins, cinnamon and a little cheese, capirotada, is on Mexican tables during Eastertime at Lent and on Good Friday.


Germans celebrate with a giant community bonfire, the Osterfeuer, while warming up with apple Schnapps. They also eat green-colored food on Maundy Thursday, including fresh Spargel (asparagus) and chervil soup, and on Sunday, Osterschinken im Brotteig, ham baked into dense brown bread.


The Greeks enjoy lamb liver stew, mageiritsa, with greens tossed in an egg-and-lemon dressing, and also dye hardboiled eggs red. They have their own special, bitter wild cherry seed-infused brioche-style bread, usually shaped into a ring and dotted with red hardboiled eggs and perhaps a few spring blossoms.


Danes toast Easter with Påskeøl, a strong beer in honor of Easter.

Perhaps add that to your holiday menu this year? Happy Easter!


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