HE IS RISEN!
In many churches across America, you can hear an exuberant, “He is risen indeed!” reply to this call-and-answer Easter greeting. Jesus’ resurrection is celebrated in different ways all over the world. In some countries, it’s a huge celebration with endless festivities. In others, especially in countries where there are few Christians, Easter is remembered in more intimate ways. But no matter how it is celebrated, the joy of Jesus’ resurrection extends beyond borders.
Enjoy learning how Easter is celebrated in each of the countries where Compassion assisted children live. And don't miss an Easter greeting from some amazing Compassion children at the bottom of this page!
Share this page with family and friends so they can join in Easter joy without borders!
In Bangladesh, Easter was not celebrated as a public holiday between the mid-1980s and 2019. However, in the last couple of years, it has been celebrated nationally once again. Schools are closed on Easter Sunday. Even though only a small percentage of the population in Bangladesh is Christian, many of them gather to worship with friends and family.
Throughout Indonesia there are many different Easter traditions. In the community of Kote, many people practice Kure, which is a pilgrimage from house to house in the village to pray together and reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice. At the end of the walk, offerings of money, fruits, vegetables and palm are distributed among the pilgrims.
In the Philippines, many Christians spend Easter celebrating. Some start their day with a dawn service called the Salubong, which is a processional with people carrying an image or statue to represent the risen Christ. This is a particularly Catholic tradition. In addition, many Christians prepare bountiful meals to celebrate.
In Sri Lanka, Easter is not a public holiday. Even though only a small percentage of the population is Christian and Easter celebrations are not widespread, those who follow Christ often gather for church services on Sunday morning.
In Thailand, Easter is not a public holiday. And with only 1% of the population being Christian, it is not widely celebrated. However, Christ-followers in Thailand often do attend church services and family gatherings to celebrate the Easter holiday.
In Burkina Faso, Easter is celebrated as a public holiday on Monday, the day after Easter Sunday. Most Christians attend church and share a celebratory meal on Easter Sunday. The next day, Easter Monday, tends to be a day of rest.
In Ethiopia, Easter is called Fasika. It marks the end of a 55-day fast during which Christians eat only one meal — a vegetarian meal — per day. They often end their fast after church by eating injera (Ethiopian flatbread) or pancakes made from teff (a grass seed) flour.
In Ghana, Christians dress in certain colors to mark the different days of Easter. On Good Friday, depending on the denomination, men and women choose to wear either dark mourning clothes or bright colors. On Easter Sunday, everyone wears white.
In Kenya, many people attend Easter morning church services, which are known to last for three hours! After church, it’s common to look forward to a special meal. The meal often includes nyama choma (grilled meat) and a soft drink — a real treat!
In Rwanda, Easter is a time to attend church and celebrate with family. Sometimes people travel from their homes to be with relatives who live far away. However, the Easter season is also a somber time, as it often falls around the same time as the anniversary of the beginning of the 1994 genocide. This has changed the tone of Easter in Rwanda over the past generation.
In Tanzania, Easter is celebrated by attending church, spending time with family and sometimes buying new Easter clothes. Both Good Friday and Easter Monday (the day after Easter Sunday) are public holidays. Most schools and businesses are closed on these days.
In Togo, Easter Monday (the day following Easter Sunday) is a public holiday, meaning that most schools and businesses are closed. Easter itself is often celebrated by attending a church service and spending time with family and friends.
In Uganda, food is an important part of Easter celebrations. Families prepare a special meal, often including ugali (a traditional maize-based porridge dish), potatoes, beans, and meat such as chicken or goat.
In Bolivia, Easter is a very important holiday and is heavily influenced by the predominantly Catholic culture. In La Paz, the capital city, a somber procession takes place on Good Friday to mourn and commemorate the death of Jesus.
In Brazil, Easter celebrations are both religious and cultural. As in the U.S., people in Brazil celebrate with chocolate and Easter eggs. However, many Brazilians also observe Christian traditions and attend ceremonies throughout the entire week. For example, on Good Friday, most people do not eat meat. And on Easter Sunday, they attend church services and spend time with family and friends.
In Colombia, many of the most famous Easter celebrations happen in the city of Popayán, which is known as the “Jerusalem of Colombia.” The entire Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is filled with events and processions. Every evening, the streets are filled with a procession of people, incense, music and statues of Jesus. Onlookers hold candles to light the way.
In Ecuador, Easter is a very important holiday, as it is in many other Latin American countries. One distinct tradition is the preparation and eating of fanesca, the traditional Ecuadorian Easter soup. The soup contains 12 so-called grains (actually a combination of beans and vegetables) that represent the 12 apostles, as well as fish, which represents Jesus. Fanesca is eaten throughout Lent and for lunch on Good Friday.
In Peru, Easter is one of the most important holidays and is celebrated widely throughout the country. Some of the most famous Semana Santa, or Holy Week, celebrations happen in the city of Ayacucho. Thousands of people flood into the city for a week of fireworks, flower carpet displays, bull chases and reenactments of biblical events.
CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
In the Dominican Republic, Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is one of the most important weeks of the year. During Easter, big cities are much less busy. It’s not uncommon for people to travel to see family in other parts of the country. Throughout the week, there are different celebrations and processions. For example, on Good Friday, the procession of the cross, which represents Jesus’ path to Calvary, takes place.
In El Salvador, many young people spend Good Friday transforming their city roads into beautiful murals made of colored sand and sawdust. Then these roads are closed so that the artwork can be honored and admired by the public.
In Guatemala, Easter is celebrated with large, colorful processions. The main roads are closed, and the sound of music rings through the streets. Special food is prepared, including curtido (diced vegetable mix cooked in vinegar), fish, eggs, chickpeas, a fruit mix, pumpkin, pacaya palm and spondias (a plum-like fruit).
In Haiti, one special Easter tradition is flying kites. Local artisans sell beautiful, colorful paper kites to children and families. Children who cannot afford to buy a kite often create their own. On Easter, beautiful kites fill the sky as children stand smiling below them.
In Honduras, one of the many ways in which Easter is celebrated is by decorating the streets with beautiful alfombras, or carpets, of colored sand, chalk, rice and flower petals. The alfombras depict biblical figures, like Jesus, and the events leading up to his crucifixion.
In Mexico, Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is filled with many different ceremonies and celebrations. For example, on Good Friday, people in many towns and cities take part in processions. They typically reenact the final moments before Jesus’ death, and there are often actors carrying crosses. These processions are solemn yet beautiful.
In Nicaragua, one interesting Easter tradition is the Donkey Procession. This takes place on Palm Sunday, which is the Sunday before Semana Santa, or Holy Week, begins. A statue of Jesus (or an actor dressed as Jesus) is seated on a donkey and paraded through the city surrounded by local townspeople who sing and pray.