Easter is the oldest Christian festival, when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ worldwide. Especially in Germany, children are happy about colorfully painted Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies that the Easter Bunny has hidden for them. But what does Easter look like in Africa?
Easter in Mozambique: Feliz Páscoa
Easter in Mozambique is one of the biggest religious festivals and is a time of reflection and prayer for Mozambicans. Similar to Germany, on Easter the whole family comes together to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Easter Is a Time of Fasting
For many Mozambicans, fasting is also part of the Easter season. However, people handle this very differently. Strict believers fast for 40 days, from Ash Wednesday to the last Sunday before Easter. Others fast only in the week before Easter Sunday.
For the people of Mozambique, fasting is primarily about giving up excess and showing more charity. For this reason, many families visit orphanages, hospitals and homes for the elderly during Lent and bring donations in the form of food, clothing, blankets or toys for children. In addition, meat is abstained from on Fridays.
On Palm Sunday, the last Sunday before Easter, the fast is broken and Holy Week begins. On Easter Sunday, Mozambicans celebrate with a full house and a richly set table. On this day, traditional sweet and savory dishes are served, which vary from region to region. In some families, a lamb or goat is also slaughtered for this special occasion.
Easter Eggs and Chocolate Bunnies
Chocolate bunnies and the typical Easter egg hunt, as known from Germany, do not exist in Mozambique. However, the Western influence is also evident in Easter traditions and chocolate Easter bunnies can now be bought in supermarkets.
Easter in Namibia
Christians in Namibia also celebrate Easter. In contrast to Mozambique, Namibia has many more Easter traditions, which are also known from Germany. This is mainly due to the German colonial period, when many Germans settled in Namibia and brought their culture and traditions with them.
The Easter Festival in Namibia
Easter in Namibia is also a festival where the whole family comes together to eat and celebrate. Some also use the Easter holidays for a short road trip or to visit family members who live further away. On Good Friday only fish is eaten, but on Easter Sunday the table is richly laid and many families barbecue together. Especially the locals attend the church service on Easter Sunday and perform their traditional dances (Ceremonial Dances), with which they celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Similar to Germany, many German immigrants dye Easter eggs. And also the Easter egg hunt may not be missing here on Easter Sunday.
Easter in Tanzania
In Tanzania, Easter is one of the biggest celebrations of the year for Christians, who make up 61% of the population. Faith is very important to Tanzanians because it means protection and purpose in life. For this reason, church services are particularly well attended on the holidays.
Tanzanian Easter Traditions
On Palm Sunday, believers bring palm branches to church for a blessing, which are then used to decorate the houses. However, this custom is unfortunately dying out in some regions of the country. Instead, Christian traditions and spending time with family and friends are coming to the fore.
On Easter Sunday, Tanzanians dress especially beautifully to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ together. They attend services at church and many also listen to the President’s Easter address. Together with family, friends and neighbors, they have a meal afterwards. Guests are always welcome in Tanzania and are always offered the best of the food. After all, a saying in Tanzania is: “Mgeni ni baraka” – “A guest is a blessing”.
As in many other African countries, the Easter egg hunt, chocolate bunnies and gifts are not part of the Tanzanian Easter traditions.