Easter Greetings in different European languages

25th March 2024

Sarah Roberts

Spring is here! The days are finally getting longer and brighter again, which means that Easter is just around the corner. Here are Easter Greetings in different European languages and some interesting etymology for you!

Spotlight on Easter in Poland

Wesołego Alleluja!

The first sign that Easter is approaching in Poland is on Palm Sunday (one week before Easter Sunday). This marks the entrance of Jesus in Jerusalem according to Catholic Tradition.

On the Saturday before Easter Sunday, hard-boiled eggs are painted (pisanki), in colourful patterns and are displayed in Easter baskets which contain a sampling of Easter foods such as babka, some ham/sausage, bread, and a little lamb made of sugar. They are brought to church to be blessed.



Easter Sunday involves going to church for resurrection mass and families eat breakfast together. A big part of Easter is the cakes such as babka and cheesecake.

The last day is Easter Monday known as Smigus Dyngus (Wet Monday), where people throw lots of water at each other (usually buckets!). This dates back to an old tradition where water represents life and the coming of Spring.

(thanks to Maj, our Sales Executive, for his insights!)

Spanish – ¡Feliz Pascua!

Holy Week, the week immediately before Easter, is an important annual event in Spain. There are processions in almost every city and town. Many visitors from around the world travel to Spain to see the impressive parades.




German – Frohe Ostern!

For many Germans, Easter Sunday includes eating Hefezopf or Osterkranz which can be stuffed with dried fruits and nuts and eaten with butter and jam.





Italian – Buona Pasqua!

In Florence, people gather to watch the Scoppio del Carro, (Explosion of the Cart) – a 350-year-old folk tradition that dates back to the First Crusade. During Easter mass, the Archbishop of Florence lights the fuse to an ornate cart that is loaded with fireworks.




Romanian – Paște Fericit!

Easter is a significant celebration in Romania! Following the period of Lent, the traditional Easter menu in Romania includes cozonac (a simple, citrusy, sweetened yeast bread twisted around a nutty filling) drob and lamb.




And now for some spring etymology…


There is more than one theory for where this word originates! One is that it is named after Eostre, the pagan fertility goddess of humans and crops. This would make sense as Easter falls in spring.

Another theory is that Easter comes from the Proto-Germanic word austron meaning dawn. This could relate to dawn being the start of the day and Easter representing new beginnings.

Many European languages including the ones above, have words for Easter that come directly from the Hebrew word for Passover. Though English doesn’t have that root, there are still remnants of the word for Passover in words like paschal candles.


Comes from an Old English word meaning ‘day of the sun’. German Sonntag and Dutch Zondag have similar roots too!

(Spring) Equinox

From Latin aequus– meaning ‘equal’ and nox- meaning night. This is the day where there are equal hours of light and darkness (falling on 20th March this year).


From Latin Martius meaning month of Mars. The Latin word is also the root of Spanish marzo, German März, and many other European languages.


Some say that April comes from Latin Aprilis, which is the second month of the ancient Roman calendar. This may be derived from the Latin verb aperire – to open, a reference to the opening and blossoming of flowers and trees, a common occurrence in April!

Information taken from Online Etymology Dictionary (https://www.etymonline.com/)

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