Welcome to France, a country full of culture and history, where Easter is celebrated in unique and special ways. From egg hunts to the traditional procession of the Risen Christ, Easter activities in France are sure to impress! In this blog post, we’ll be highlighting the top 5 Easter activities that you must take part in while visiting France. Read on to learn about these amazing activities and why they’re must-dos for your Easter holiday in France!
1. Easter Egg Hunts
Every Easter, children don Easter bonnets and explore the colorful gardens and grassy knolls of France in search of chocolate eggs. During these egg hunts, called chasses aux oeufs in French or “egg hunting”, kids wander off to grown-up parties, foraging for foil-wrapped treats hidden among flower beds and behind shrubbery.
In addition to containing sweet surprises, each egg offers a unique puzzle to solve with each answer bringing you closer to your ultimate goal – discovering the grand prize – the Easter rabbit! Popular since the mid 19th century, this activity is enjoyed by many families in France who take advantage of the opportunity to spend quality time together while partaking in a fun tradition full of joy and candy.
2. Procession of the Risen Christ
Every Easter in France, a solemn yet beautiful tradition takes place. The Procession of the Risen Christ processional celebrates the passage of Jesus Christ from death to resurrection and is an incredible sight. During this event, the streets are filled with song and prayer as people carry a statue of Christ throughout their local church or chapel on foot. It is said that as it passes through each parish, a sense of peace descends upon the townspeople.
As the procession proceeds between stations representing moments from Jesus’ final days, attendees have time to reflect on his life and renew their faith in him and his teachings. At one point in the procession, it stops for several minutes for people to pray for themselves and those around them before continuing its march to its destination. The Procession of the Risen Christ is an incredible event to witness annually and brings renewed hope to believers around France each Easter season.
3. Easter Mass
Easter Mass in France is the high point of religious celebration for Roman Catholics. Many services are held throughout the nation with colorful ceremonies and solemn traditions. An important tradition in some areas of France is La Procession des Rameaux (The Procession of the Palms), commemorating Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem.
During this event, participants walk in a candlelight procession carrying branches or palm crosses while singing ancient hymns. The day typically culminates in a joyful Easter Mass that includes powerful readings, beautiful music and inspiring homilies that reflect upon the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Whatever region one is in, attending an Easter Mass in France is always a memorable experience.
4. Fireworks Displays
The spectacular firework displays in France are a sight to behold! Every year, towns across the country commemorate special occasions and holidays with vibrant bursts of color, sound and light that leave spectators enthralled. Eager crowds of locals and tourists alike gather to watch these exceptional festivities.
The city of Paris is especially known for its outstanding shows, where over 25 tons of fireworks are used to simulate the night-time sky. Whether it’s lighting up the Eiffel Tower or reenacting scenes from world-famous operas in the year’s firework extravaganzas, France ensures that there is always something dazzling to look forward to.
5. Chocolate Celebrations and Markets
The popularity of chocolate in France is no surprise – with a history dating back centuries, it has become part of their culture. In fact, French markets often have brightly colored stalls that sell both locally-produced and imported chocolates created from all sorts of interesting flavors. It’s not uncommon to find white chocolate with raspberry, chili and sea salt for those that crave the exotic or simply a classic dark chocolate ganache.
Many confectioners in France also create spectacular edible works art for special occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays and weddings. These creative confections can range from intricate sculptures to hollow chocolate eggs filled with truffle surprise. So whatever your fancy, there is something special to be found at the many French chocolate celebrations and markets!
6. Candlelight Processions
Candlelight processions, also known as ‘marching vigils’, are an important traditional event in France. This age-old practice, which originated in the Middle Ages, is still celebrated widely throughout the country today. The processions typically involve people carrying lit candles and singing religious hymns while parading through streets of villages and towns.
On special occasions such as festivals or holy days, locals dress in traditional clothing to add to the festive spirit. Although it has religious origins, candlelight processions now serve as a way of bringing together people from all walks of life in commemoration of local customs and culture.
7. Cuisine Specials for Easter Celebrations
French cuisine specials on Easter Sunday are some of the most highly anticipated dishes of the season. While there is a traditional offering of lamb, vegetables and potatoes, regional specialties are just as popular for celebrating the occasion. Rocamadour cheese pastries served with a light spring salad are a popular dish in the south of France.
Magret de canard au poivre vert (Duck breast smothered in green pepper sauce) can be found in many restaurants in Normandy while locals in Alsace opt for Baeckeoffe; a casserole with layers of meat and potatoes held together by white wine. These regional treats help make Easter celebrations memorable, and nothing is more gratifying to food-lovers than discovering classic dishes combined in new and exciting ways.
8. Easter Bonnet Contests
Easter bonnet contests, or Chapeau d’Paques, are a long-standing tradition in France. Held during Easter season, participants adorn themselves with beautiful hats and compete for first prize. These creative contests bring together family and friends in a riot of colors and shapes, channeling the bustle of revelry that has become synonymous with the traditional Easter holiday in France.
Featuring decorated straw hats, elaborate headpieces and every material imaginable, Easter bonnet contests have delighted audiences for years as spectators marvel at the sheer uniqueness of each individual style. Whether it’s children turning ordinary hats into something extraordinary or adults weaving their whimsy through extravagant designs – they remain an integral part of what makes Easter so special in France!
France is a country filled with rich history and culture. From Easter Egg Hunts to Procession of the Risen Christ to Fireworks Displays and Chocolate Celebrations and Markets, there are plenty of unique experiences that can be had during the Easter season in France. Whether you’re looking for an exciting way to spend time with your family or an opportunity to broaden your cultural horizons, you are sure to find something special in France.
So make this Easter season one for the books and discover all that this beautiful country has to offer! Happy Easter!