Easter Traditional Recipes from Around the Globe

Easter is celebrated in various ways in different countries. Associated with these traditions are some delicious recipes.  Check out a few of these tasty global treats to try in your own home!

Hot Cross Buns iStock_000016427843Small Bread has great importance in many cultures for Easter because of the last supper, when Christ shared bread with the apostles.  An English traditional bread, hot cross buns became popular with the Tudors in England.  During that time, the sale of hot cross buns was only allowed on Good Friday, Christmas and during burials.  The spiced bread actually dates back to the ancient Greeks, however it was the English who added the cross on the top (formed from pastry or from a cut in the bread) in reference to Easter.  Made of flour, milk, butter and lots of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, it is not the lowest in calories. Check out this recipe, using whole grains, to make it healthier.

Easter eggs iStock_000008835203Small Eggs are associated with rebirth and rejuvenation and were therefore adopted as a symbol of Christ’s resurrection.  In Eastern and Orthodox Christian tradition, eggs were dyed red to symbolize the blood of Christ. Later many Eastern European countries  decorated eggs with amazing designs and gave them as gifts.  Around the turn of the 20th century, the Russian royal family (Alexander III and Nicholas II)  gave Faberge decorated jeweled eggs as part of this tradition. On Easter, the PAAS dye company reports their products dye 180 million eggs each year.  What to do with all of those eggs? You can make Tsouriki, a Greek Easter bread, which is decorated with red easter eggs. Or how about a healthier not so devilish eggs recipe.

Capirotada

Capiratoda Photo Credit

Picture Credit By Carlos Lopez (originally posted to Flickr as y asi quedo) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ACapiratoda.jpg

Capirotada is a Mexican  and Spanish bread pudding made of raisins, cinnamon, cheese and cloves typically served during Lent, often on Good Friday. The dish dates back to the Spanish Inquisition and is a shared tradition between Christian and Jewish religions.  During the 1500′s, Ferdinand and Isabella forced Jewish residents of Spain to either convert to Christianity or leave Spain.  The dish was associated with “crypto-Jews” who practiced their religion secretly but outwardly practiced Christianity.  With the migration to Mexico, many Spanish Jews took this recipe with them and it is now eaten in the country in celebrations of Passover and Lent.  Recipes vary as does the associated meaning of the ingredients. In some cases the bread is said to contain all of the foods forbidden in Lent.  In other cases, the ingredients are said to have symbolism linked with the passion of Christ. For example the cloves or raisins represent the nails of the cross, the cinnamon sticks represent the wood of the cross, the bread represents the body of Christ, the syrup is his blood and the cheese is his shroud.  Try this healthier version of the recipe using splenda.

Pashka Paskha2 Photo Credit

By Mitrius (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commonshttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3APaskha2.jpg

A Russian dessert, Pashka is made of cheese and decorated with religious symbols on top, often the letters XB  from “Christos Voskres”, which means “Christ is Risen”.  Pashka is made in the form of a pyramid to symbolize the shape of a tomb.   It uses the first cheese of Spring and can either be raw or cooked.  It is also full of calories but here is a healthier version using margarine and low fat milk.

Colomba Colomba pasquale Colomba is an Italian sweet  bread shaped like a dove, representing the Holy Spirit. Its tradition dates back to the 12th century in Milan. At this time when Legnano defeated the Roman Empire,  it was said that two doves appeared on the battle chariot.   Regardless of its origin, it became popular in the 1930′s when the company Motta made the bread a staple of Italian tables.  Made of milk, flour, sugar and grated peel, its hard to find a healthy version but try this recipe and replace the milk with a low fat alternative.  

Easter Fun Facts

  • Peeps were created by a Russian Sam Born in early 20th century.
  • The White House Easter Egg roll has been celebrated since 1878, with President Rutherford Hayes. Before this year, Washingtonians celebrated Easter with egg rolls on the Capitol. President Grant banned Easter eggs on the grounds of the Capitol in 1876 due to the mess they made.
  • The world’s largest Easter egg was made of chocolate in Belgium  and weighed 1,200 kilograms.
  • The PAAS Dye Company started selling dye for Eastern eggs in the 1880s. The company now sells more than 10 million kits per year to decorate 180 million eggs.
References

http://www.foodtimeline.org/easter.html

http://posttrib.suntimes.com/lifestyles/4249960-423/capirotada-a-mexican-passover-tradition.html

http://italingua.ning.com/profiles/blogs/colomba-and-other-italian

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/04/18/easter-traditions-explained/7865171/

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