To get a few ideas, we have already asked our international AuPairWorld Team: in Poland, for instance, people soak each other with water on Easter Monday - sometimes even with buckets full of water. Opinions tend to differ when it comes to the origins of this Easter tradition. However, many sources describe it as a cleansing ritual. In France, on the other hand, things are rather staying dry: there, children are told that the church bells are flying to Rome on Good Friday to return home on Easter Monday. This explains why the church bells never ring up to Easter Monday. According to the tradition, the bells hide chocolate and sugar eggs for the children on their way back. In Germany and in the Netherlands, it is the Easter Bunny that is in charge of bringing goodies to the children. However, he does not only hide sweets but also boiled eggs painted in vivid colours. However, Sara, our Spanish colleague from our translation department, came up with the best tradition of all: she made a typical Spanish Easter dessert for us – Torrijas. Simply delicious! :-)
Now it is your turn: As a host family, which of your traditions did you teach your au pair? Are there any particular customs you have adopted from your au pair? As an au pair, which are the traditions you have discovered in your host country or brought into your host family? We will publish the best stories on AuPairWorld. We are looking forward to receiving your contributions!
These are your replies:
"Pâques est une tradition qui, en France, est l'occasion de faire participer toute la famille à la fameuse recherche des oeufs décorés et lapins en chocolat dispersés dans le jardin.
Des parcs organisent aussi cette chasse pour permettre aux familles sans jardin de partager ce bon moment ! Une fois le jardin fouillé, les familles se réunissent souvent autour d'un bon repas dont les gâteaux de Grand-Mère, sans oublier bien sur le chocolaaaaat !!
Joyeuses Pâques !" Jessica, au pair from France
"Cacher des œufs dans le jardin. Ensuite, les enfants doivent les retrouver, et enfin les déguster ! " Amela, au pair from Congo
"In Georgien gibt es zu Ostern rote Eier und Paska, ein spezieller Kuchen, der eine hohe und runde Form hat. Die Eier färbt man am Karfreitag auf folgende Art und Weise: Die Wurzeln der Pflanze Krapp werden gekocht, bis das Wasser rot ist. Dann werden die Eier in dem roten Wasser gekocht.
In Georgien lieben wir die Gesellschaft. Speziell an Feiertagen haben wir eine große Feier mit vielen Gästen." Teoona, au pair from Georgia
"En Alsace, nous préparons en famille des petits agneaux de Pâques en génoise (les lamalas, ou lemeles). Ils sont dégustés après le passage des cloches." Gaëlle, au pair from France
"Eier picken: Jeder hat ein bemaltes Osterei und schlägt es gegen das seines Gegenübers. Wessen Osterei zuerst bricht, hat verloren und muss es dem Gewinner überlassen." Ina, host mother from Germany
"Nell'Italia del nord solitamente la pasqua si passa in famiglia, mentre il giorno successivo con gli amici. Questa mattina un' amica mi raccontava che nel Veneto il giorno di Pasquetta ci si riunisce con gli amici e si mangia in mezzo ai prati e obbligatoriamente nel menù devono essere comprese le uova sode." Valentina, au pair from Italy
"En Colombie, il est habituel de sortir en ville pour aller visiter les différentes cathédrales et faire procession. On visite aussi d'autres villes dans les différentes régions du pays. Les gens se retrouvent généralement pour manger et donnent des bonbons." Diego, host father from Colombia
"I do not celebrate Easter in my home country, but when I was in Germany my host family did. They had hidden eggs in the garden for the kids to find them. And those hidden eggs were actually chocolate eggs." Liyana, au pair from Malaysia
"En Semana Santa hacemos pequeñas actividades, disfrutamos de la tranquilidad y la calma. Salimos un día a la paya, otro hacemos las tradicionales "monas" que despúes comemos con la familia. También vamos a ver museos a Barcelona, salimos a pasear al monte. Nos tomamos los días con calma..." Esther, host mother from Spain
"Easter day in Lake Como, northern Italy: In the morning, we go to Mass at our main church. Traditionally, there is an exchange of "good Easter" wishes among our family and among friends as well (a kind of wish for peace and serenity in the coming time).
Easter menu: Light pasta or spring tart with spinach/eggs/cheese, roasted lamb/lamb chops (with mint sauce), fried potatoes, salad, Colomba (the Italian Easter cake in the shape of a dove), coffee and wine. At the end of the meal, we open our Easter chocolate eggs (with a gift inside).
The table is elegant, with a small bouquet with flowers and painted eggs. Many families have a picnic on the day after Easter. Have a good Easter day." Ludovica, au pair from Italy
"We celebrate a lot of traditions related to food and culture in general." Fiorenza, host mother from Italy
"In Poland, we celebrate Easter in many different ways: On Sunday and Monday we go to church and then at home we paint Easter eggs together. In the evening, we eat Easter dinner and spend time with all the family. My sister and I help my mother to cook special dishes: cake, cream soup, eggs in several ways. We also give some presents to the kids. They have to look for them in the garden. It's very funny :) Unfortunately this year there's still snow. I really love Easter because it's a very happy time." Anna, au pair from Poland
"We celebrate Easter with family and then we go to church. Sometimes we color eggs with the children, it is great fun." Rania, au pair from Canada
"En España en Semana Santa hay procesiones. La gente sale con una túnica y un capuchón y tocan la trompeta y el tambor principalmente. Se va delante o detrás de un paso con las escenas de la vida de Cristo más relevantes. En España, los pasos renacentistas o barrocos son preciosos. ¡¡Tenéis que verlo!!" Alba, au pair from Spain
"Las tradiciones de mi país o mi estado en sí consisten en cocinar una gran variedad de dulces: dulce de coco, de lechosa, de higo y de piña, entre otros. También las familias suelen jugar al bingo, barajas, metra, trompo, dominó. Se come además pescado, sopa de garbanzos, sopa de pan, ensalada y carabina. Y por tradición religiosa no se come carne roja durante estos días." Jackeline, au pair from Venezuela
"Pur non essendo ospite di una famiglia, sto vivendo in Germania e lavoro in una piccola Gasthof vicino a Mannheim. Qui si preparano alla pasqua preparando le uova dipinte a mano e poi nascoste dall'Osterhase, il Coniglietto Pasquale. Una volta trovate si scambiano con quelle del proprio compagno e poi si cucinano tutte insieme." Alessia, au pair from Italy
"En España son días festivos y por lo tanto la gente aprovecha para irse con sus familias y realizar algún viaje. También se realizan muchas procesiones al cristo." Vicent, au pair from Spain
"In Hungary,we have a special tradition for Easter. Boys and men visit girls and women and sprinkle them with perfume or perfumed water. The sprinkling is a symbol of fertility. Women are "watered" like flowers." Csilla, au pair from Hungary
"In my town in Spain, we celebrate Easter by eating Empanadas. They are similar to meat pies. The week before Easter is called the "Semana Santa"." Laura, host mother from Spain
"Pour Pâques, notre tradition est d'aller dans le jardin avec les enfants pour chercher les œufs de Pâques. C'est une tradition familiale.” Typhaine, au pair from France
"In our family, we paint and decorate eggs. Traditionnaly, brothers and fathers also whip women with a special whip. A legend says that we should be whipped by the boys to be healthy for the whole next year:) Our crazy habit:) At Easter, there is also plenty of food and drink. I love the atmosphere of Easter.” Petra, au pair from the Czech Republic
"In Spain, the week before Easter is a special week called "Semana Santa". During the week, almost everyone goes out to watch all the special events that are organised: a lot of penitents take part in religious processions, carrying huge symbols of Jesus Christ. The many symbols represent the story of Jesus and Maria. There are also many street musicians who play music for the Virgin or Jesus Christ. Every single day during this week, people participate in the various events as a mark of respect for this Christian feast.” Francisco, au pair from Spain
"On Saturday morning before Easter, we prepare our basket. We fill it with eggs, sausages, bread, salt and pepper, chocolate, fruit, etc., and we then go to church with it. Oh, and on Sunday, we all gather together to eat an Easter-breakfast :)” Gabriela, au pair from Poland
"J'ai fêté Pâques au Québec l'an dernier.
Les parents avaient simplement dressé une table avec plein de petites décorations et des chocolats (des amis ont ramené des œufs plus tard) mais ce n’était pas dans le jardin, j’étais un peu déçue :-)." Mélody, au pair from France
"I don´t know how is Easter in England because in that time I came back to Canary Island for holidays. But in my family we usually are all together at my grandparent´s beach house, spending all day there, going to the beach, having a barbecue. All grandaugthers usually make the dessert and have big chats, hehehe. We are a very close family and we take every oportunity to be together." Nuria, au pair from Spain
"En España, lo más particular de la Semana Santa son las procesiones. Durante todo el año, las bandas de música ensayan las llamadas marchas de Semana Santa y las cofradías preparan los decorados de los tronos. Es una costumbre muy católica que consiste en recrear la historia de Jesús de Nazaret a través de figuras (casi a tamaño real) y que los nazarenos y costaleros pasean al compás de la música típica y el olor a incienso.
En esta fecha, el dulce típico es la torrija, hecha a base de pan frito con azúcar (conocida en Francia como "pain perdu")." Ana, au pair from Spain
"In Italy there are many different traditions during the Easter time, which differ from the North to the South. The day before Eastern (Holy Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) there are many religious processions and on Holy Friday night the streets are full of people holding candles. In Italy we say "Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi", which means "Christmas with your family, Eastern with whoever you want" and we usually organise huge feasts with our relatives or our friends. The monday after Easter is called "Pasquetta" and if the weather is sunny, we usually go to the countryside or to the beach with our friends, we have a pic-nic or a barbecue and we spend the whole day together. In my town (Col San Martino, near Venice), for example, there is a small wine fair that lasts 3 weeks. It is also opened on Easter and Easter Monda, or as we say "Pasquetta". Many people come to this fair to eat or to drink wine with their friends. My area is very famous because there are many wine cellars producing the best Prosecco in the world and that's why many people visit this fair. FOOD Eating lamb is very common in almost every part of Italy, but there are many other dishes, especially cakes. The most common one is the "Pasqualina", which is mainly made with ricotta (a tipical Italian cheese), eggs and spinach. Another tasty cake is the "Colomba Pasquale". The English word for Colomba is "Dove" and it's called like that because of its shape. This cake is difficult to bake and we usually buy it in pastry shops. It is soft and covered with icing (really tasty!), sugar and sometimes even chocolate. Another tradition is giving a chocolate egg to the children as a present. You can buy it at the baker's but also at the supermarket and it cointains a small surprise. In my region (Veneto) we also eat "Fugazza", a cake made made of almonds, flour, eggs and lemon peel. Eastern is just around the corner, so why don't you try to spend it in an Italian way? In case you want recipes or some advice about visiting Italy during Easter do not hesistate to contact me. In Italy there are also many other traditions and I am really eager to show and tell them to you and your children and of course to get to know you soon. Bye for now and HAPPY EASTER!!!!" Chiara, au pair from Italy