Celebrating the Easter holiday in Switzerland

Easter eggs in Globus Basement, robanhk/Flickr

Easter eggs in Globus Basement, robanhk/Flickr

Like every country in the world Switzerland also has its own fashion of celebrating Easter. In many places the Easter Bunny and the Easter eggs play an important role during the Easter holiday and it is so in Switzerland as well. Eggs are essential part of the Easter decorations and you might want to look out for runaway rabbits speeding across the streets.

Sadly this important celebration has become extremely commercialized in the last years, maybe even decades putting Good Friday and Easter Sunday in the background but still giving space to religious celebrations. Today Easter Monday is the most popular being an extra day off work and school while celebrating a spring festival. Nonetheless Easter is indeed a busy time of the year in Switzerland.

Chocolate eggs and furry bunnies

Chocolate eggs, Johan Lange/Flickr

Chocolate eggs, Johan Lange/Flickr

Way before the Holy Week start chocolate eggs and bunnies appear on display reminding children of the forthcoming event. In Switzerland there is also a specialty called the Osterfladen, meaning Easter cake. On Easter Sunday morning the children set off with their baskets to an Easter-egg hunt when the little ones have to find the hidden goodies in the house and the garden. In Zürich there is a special custom called Zwanzgerle. It is an Easter tradition when children challenge the adults who must crash their colored eggs with a twenty cent coin. If the egg does not break the children can keep the coin and if the adult wins the coin remains in their pocket and they take the egg as well.

Easter Egg Hunt, Switzerland County (IN) Tourism/Flickr

Easter Egg Hunt, Switzerland County (IN) Tourism/Flickr

Religious celebrations

In the southern region of Switzerland there is a town called Mendrisio where the townspeople stage a play performing on Holy Thursday the Passion of Christ scene from the Bible. On Good Friday a procession takes place when a sculpture of the dead Jesus and Mary is carried through town. In Romont on Good Friday you can see ‘weeping women’ with scarlet colored cushions which have symbols imprinted on them such as the thorn crown and nails. Believers walk through town praying and chanting. In some villages during Easter time the townspeople practice old traditions such as distributing cheese, bread and vine.

Easter eggs in Globus Basement, robanhk/Flickr

Easter eggs in Globus Basement, robanhk/Flickr

Special decorations

According to an old German tradition around Geneva, in Nyon, during Easter the fountains are ornamented with eggs, flowers and ribbons. This custom is linked to the celebration of the snowmelt, when the waters return to the fountains. There is a similar tradition in Bischofszell.

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