As you know, Eastertime is a very special one for people of varying faiths, cultures, and traditions. One thing that has always fascinated me, though, is how Easter symbolizes growth and renewal. That’s no surprise – this is also the time of year when flowers bloom, hibernating animals emerge, and many species give birth to their young. In fact, in ages past, people actually thought of Easter - and spring in general – as a time for new resolutions and new beginnings instead of the beginning of the calendar year like we do today.
Every year, I think it’s fun to celebrate the spirit of the Easter season in a new way. Here are a few of my favorite traditions for this time of year from various places around the world:
Cherry Blossom Festival – Japan
The significance of the cherry blossom tree in Japan goes back hundreds of years. In Japan, each year, the people look forward to the blooming of cherry blossom trees. It is a time for families and friends to gather, picnic, and enjoy music and drink.
The Songkran Festival – Laos
In April, the country of Laos turns into a giant water fight in celebration of its New Year. Think of it as a way of washing out the old to bring in the new. This tradition falls at the peak of the dry season and extensive heat. During this time, homes and holy places alike are cleaned. You may also get soaked while walking down the street—all in good-natured fun, of course!
Sechselauten – Switzerland
The end of this holiday is the burning of winter, a figure of a snowman filled with explosives. This is hardly subtle, but it’s sure an effective way to celebrate the start of a new season of growth and life! And for Easter proper, children in Zurich will hold a hard-boiled egg in their hands while an adult tries to throw a coin in such a way that it will lodge in the shell. If the coin falls to the ground, the child gets to keep both the egg and the coin. This is a way for children to begin the season with hope and expectation.
Ostern – Germany
Easter in Germany is referred to as Ostern. There, they serve fish on Good Friday, have a large bonfire on Saturday, and exchange particularly well-decorated eggs with friends and family on Easter Sunday. All three make a great way to kickstart the spring!
Ostern – Austria
Ostern in Austria is a little different. There, the season begins with Maundy Thursday or Green Thursday. Green food is eaten all day. This is a way of celebrating the growth that comes with spring.
These celebrations remind us that this truly is a season of renewal and personal growth. Personally, I find that Easter always brings a renewed outlook on the possibilities of life during this beautiful time of year. It’s a wonderful opportunity to appreciate the sights, sounds, and smells of a fresh new world. It’s an opportunity to participate in an old tradition or even start a new one.
It’s an opportunity to make our lives whatever we want them to be. So, on behalf of everyone at Antoine Williams and Associates Wealth Management, I wish you a Happy Easter, a Happy Spring, and a Happy Rest of the Year!