Celebrating Easter in the Netherlands

This weekend is the Easter weekend. In the Netherlands, the Friday before Easter is a normal work day, except for the few offices that are closed. Easter Monday, however, is a much deserved day off.

Easter has a long standing tradition. Aside from its religious ties, in the Netherlands there are a number of unique traditions.

Traditional Easter Food

Celebrating Easter in the Netherlands may be similar to the way other countries celebrate this holiday. Dutch Easter is very focused on families and includes an extended breakfast or brunch (paasontbijt of paasbrunch)with families and friends. The table usually contains delicacies such as paasbrood (a cinnamon flavoured rich bread, studded with raisin and ), croissants and eggs.

Easter Decorations

The decoration is a very important part of the Dutch Easter celebration. The dinner table is usually decorated with flowers, such as Daffodils, Tulips and Hyacinths. On the dinner table there is typically a basket with painted Easter Egg and often the centerpiece is a vase with decorated willow branches. This tree is similar to Christmas in that respect that it is decorated with ornaments and treats such as flowers, bunnies, butterflies and chocolate eggs.

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The search for Easter eggs

Dutch kids spend most of their time painting and hunting for Easter eggs. In the Netherlands we do not have a bunny, but a hare (paashaas). Maybe they chose the hare, because translated it sounds better than Easter Bunny. On the Sunday morning of Easter the paashaas hides the decorated eggs either in the house or around in the garden. Kids go out hunting for the eggs and are pleased to show off and compare the eggs they find with each other.

Easter Monday

Easter Monday is a public holiday. Dutch people often spend time visiting families, fairs and markets. Some people even go to shopping centers to walk around and enjoy their day off. In some parts of the Netherlands they still celebrate in a more traditional way. Bonfires are lit to celebrate this holiday.

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