Being such a big country means that the Easter traditions vary a lot, according to the region – or religion.
Brazil has a huge Catholic population, so the Semana Santa (Holy Week) is observed throughout the country with processions and rituals similar to those of other Catholic countries, yet made unique by the specific context in which they happen. The Catholics have special open air plays where actors represent the resurrection of Jesus and masses in churches on Easter Sunday.
But as I have never experienced a Catholic Easter, I prefer to describe the Easter that I´ve had for the past 20 years in a Lutheran – yet not super religious – family.
The preparations for the “Páscoa” (Easter) in my family begin a few weeks in advance. The kids prepare cute Easter Bunnies made of paper in school, paint eggs in the most colorful way they can and are very excited every time they wake up and there is a small chocolate beside their beds.
The “Sexta-Feira Santa” (Holy Friday) is a day to think and to pray. We are not allowed to talk loudly, run or listen to loud music. We don´t eat meat and usually have fish for lunch. (The country takes it seriously: even Mc Donald´s has a special Mc Fish offer for the day) It is quite a peaceful day and everyone is happy that we can stay at home.
The Saturday, in Portuguese called “Sábado de Aleluia” is a day full of expectations. At night, children leave a carrot for the Bunny. In the morning it is always half eaten – guess the Bunny is never very hungry…
On Sunday, the “Domingo de Páscoa”, the children wake up knowing that they have a challenge awaiting: finding their nests full of chocolate eggs. The Easter Bunny is clever, and leaves a map and instructions. It is always a nice time for them – sometimes the nest is on a tree, sometimes under the ground or even inside their own closets. The only problem is when it takes them a long time to find the chocolates, because depending on where they are hidden the chocolates are totally melted when they are found.
The breakfast is always a special moment, because for us, Easter is all about sharing and being with the family. So we have house made waffles, fruits and, of course, some chocolate – while we pray and are thankful for everything we´ve got.
The rest of the day is spent with the family: aunts, cousins, grandparents, all celebrating the joyous moments. On Monday life is back to normal – except that for once, the children are allowed to take chocolate as their snack in school.