The Best European Easter Celebrations

Many of us spend Easter gorging on oversized chocolate eggs; at the same time, devouring fresh-from-the-oven hot cross buns and enjoying a lazy long weekend. However, there are lots of cultures throughout Europe that celebrate the religious spring event in a more traditional way. From elaborate parades that take over entire villages to ancient traditions that date back centuries. Here are some of the most noteworthy and best European Easter celebrations you won’t want to miss.

Best European Easter Celebrations

Processions in Seville, Spain

Spain is well-known for having incredible Easter processions, even though nowhere puts on a show quite like Seville. This southern town organises daily parades throughout holy week. Which are made up of perfectly-timed brass bands, embellished parade floats dripping in Baroque artwork and sculptures of biblical scenes. Hundreds of followers wearing the traditional tall pointed hoods marching behind.

Traditional Easter attire in Seville. European Easter Celebrations
Traditional Easter attire in Seville.

Re-enactments in Tenerife, Canary Islands

It’s not just mainland Spain that celebrates Easter in a big way. The Canary Islands also pull all the stops out with strikingly realistic re-enactments of scenes from the bible. On Good Friday, the southern town of Adeje in Tenerife hosts a two-hour depiction of Christ’s final hours. Hundreds of locals dressed up as followers, disciples and centurions take part.

Re-enactment of the crucifixion in Adeje. European Easter Celebrations
Re-enactment of the crucifixion in Adeje. Image via Flickr: Claire Herbaux / CC BY-ND 2.0

Easter Market in Prague, Czech Republic

For three weeks around Easter, the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square in Prague is taken over by the Easter Market. During this time the area is dominated by brightly coloured wooden huts. These are laden with hand-painted eggs, dolls, puppets, scented candles, ceramics and other handicrafts; that are available for visitors to buy. The market is also a great opportunity to try local traditional food, like klobása (barbequed sausages) and trdelník (hot sugar-coated pastry); which are freshly prepared in front of you.

Stalls selling sweet treats and handicrafts in Prague. European Easter Celebrations
Stalls selling sweet treats and handicrafts in Prague. Image via Flickr: Ruth Geach / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Scoppio del Carro in Florence, Italy

Florence is home to one of the most dramatic and best European Easter celebrations: Scoppio del Carro (Explosion of the Cart). A nine-metre-tall 500-year-old cart is pulled by white oxen on Easter Sunday; at the same time, being escorted by 150 soldiers, musicians and people in traditional 15th century clothing to the Piazza del Duomo. The cart is loaded with fireworks; which are ceremoniously set off in a 20-minute extravaganza by a mechanical dove which flies along a wire connected from the church.

Fireworks being set off the ancient cart in Florence. best European Easter Celebrations
Fireworks being set off the ancient cart in Florence.

Abballu de Daivuli in Prizzi, Sicily

Abballu de Daivuli in the hills south of Palermo sees locals dress up in horrifying zinc masks and red robes, in order to mimic the devil. This demonstration takes place on Easter Sunday. When the locals run around the town in an attempt to trap as many souls as possible by getting them to buy drinks. In the afternoon, the Virgin Mary and Risen Christ triumph; whilst at the same time, the devils are carried away by angels.

About Nicola Quinn


Nicola is a travel and food writer living in the Canary Islands who loves exploring far-off places, pushing herself to the limit and trying local eats wherever she goes.

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