Easter in Ireland looks similar to celebrations around the world—with a few traditions unique to the Emerald Isle added to the festivities. Here’s a glimpse at a few of the ways the Irish celebrate the spring holiday weekend.
If you have started your spring cleaning, now is the time to finish. And, if you haven’t started, well, there’s no time like the present. The Irish often spend the week proceeding Easter tidying up their homes. Good Friday, in particular, is known as a time of preparation. In olden times, it was a tradition for priests to visit and bless homes on Good Friday; this time of cleaning and readying may be a nod to that.
A Change in Tradition?
While many of Ireland’s Easter traditions hearken back to the early roots of Christianity, one nearly century-old observance recently changed. Pubs in Ireland, which were previously banned from selling alcohol on Good Friday, will now be permitted to open. This is the result of legislation passed early in 2018, aimed at having the pubs open for the many tourists who visit the country during Easter weekend.
Holy Saturday is often spent in silence for many Irish. This is a time of reflection on the Lenten season and the meaning of the approaching holy day. Many will also attend church on this day. An Easter vigil is held at night with all of the candles being extinguished by 11 p.m. At that time a new flame, known as the Paschal candle, is lit and presented on the altar.
Mass and a Feast
As in many American households—and those around the world—Easter Sunday revolves around two main events: attending church services, of course, and dining with family and friends. Ireland is no exception to this rule. Families don new dresses and suits for the day and head off to church. Afterward, a feast—including meat, which many Irish have abstained from during periods of Lent—is served at the family home.
All Fun and Games
The Easter bunny visits children in Ireland and they gather to hunt eggs on Easter afternoon, typically. Many Irish, both young and old, also participate in games involving eggs. These include egg-and-spoon races and egg rolls, a game of skill and luck in which hardboiled eggs race to the bottom of a hill.
What traditions do you and your family observe in honor of Easter?