Easter is the end of the winter and above all is the major celebration after Christmas, so many workers are treated to a long bank holiday weekend. This year Easter will fall on the 1st of April and it may be the time to plan a sun holiday after the last few weeks of cold weather and the recent Storm Emma. To help, take a look at some popular destinations that you can travel to.
Malta is located close to Italy in the Mediterranean Sea. Several religious events take place in this archipelago. Malta is known for being one of the most religious countries in the world – and one of the best places to celebrate Easter. In fact, Easter is celebrated with festivals, plays, marches and much more. Even if you are not that religious, visiting the adorned churches during this period is a must, especially if you are into architecture. On Good Friday, the churches are undressed from their ornaments to symbolize the sadness of the death of Christ, with many processions taking place with men dragging chains or carrying a cross. Not only does the weather make this an attractive holiday destination, but the delicious local food and beautiful beaches add to the reasons to visit Malta. If you are not into the religious celebrations you can visit Gozo which is the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago or Comino, the islands’ temples are part of the UNESCO World heritage.
Celebrating Easter in Rome or in Vatican City is an experience of a lifetime. People from all over Italy (and from all over the world!) head to the Italian capital to experience Easter at its fullest. Celebrating Easter Sunday at the Vatican’s Easter mass has a special meaning. The mass is for free, but be ready to wake up very early in order to get a seat. Take your time to visit the St. Peter’s Basilica, as well and the Vatican Museum and the gardens. If you are lucky, you might be able to feel the warm sun. Take advantage of the famous Italian food and eat outdoors in one of the many traditional Italian restaurants. Of course, the Colosseum and Roman ruins are a must.
The Greek Orthodox Church follows the Byzantine calendar, so this year’s Orthodox Easter Sunday takes place on April 8. Easter celebrations are exciting all over Greece; some of the most famous destinations to celebrate Easter are considered to be Corfu, Skiathos, Patmos, Chios, Leonidio and Monemvasia. In Athens, Good Friday marks the first main event where a replica of Christ’s tomb is carried through town. The most sacred of Easter events takes place the following day when people flock to churches at midnight carrying unlit candles which they light from the Holy Flame and walk through town enjoying a glorious display of fireworks, bells and jubilation. Easter Sunday’s menu comprises spit-fire roast lamb and lots of coloured eggs. In the Orthodox tradition, you knock eggs with your neighbour attempting to crack theirs to bring yourself good fortune.
One Easter tradition in Portugal, as a majority Catholic country, is to visit Fatima. A lot of Catholics from all over the world take a day or two to visit one of the most emblematic places of the modern Christianity. The aura behind it will make it a special moment of your life, even though you are not Catholic. Just feel the atmosphere around and enjoy the tranquillity.
Written by: Francesca Gatta from Stayplanet