March 26th, 2013 | Events, Food & Wine, Spanish Culture | 0 Comments
There are many different Easter traditions celebrated around the world, some food-related, others religious, but pretty much everyone agrees that chocolate needs to be a part of the day.
In Spain, a cake known as ‘La Mona de Pascua’ (chocolate sculptures in a variety of shapes, like castles or pirate boats) is given to children by their godparents on Easter Sunday along with chocolate eggs. Children then smash open the monas with their hands to eat the chocolate pieces. And even though they will eventually be smashed, the making of monas has become somewhat competitive among Spanish chocolatiers who vie to outdo each other by creating increasingly complex and creative sculptures. How cool is that?!
My Spanish friend Josep told me about another traditional Easter gift given to children. In addition to a mona, many children receive a palm frond to bring to church on Palm Sunday, when they shake the fronds in unison to commemorate Jesus’ triumphant arrival in Jerusalem. Many of these palm fronds come from the Palmeral of Elche, the largest palm grove in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is located in the Spanish province of Alicante. The palm fronds are tied and covered to whiten them away from sunlight before being shipped across the country. The palms are often woven into elaborate designs and decorated with candy and small toys.
The Easter egg hunt is another big tradition in America, but my favorite part of the day was searching for our Easter baskets first thing in the morning. Now not everyone hides baskets, but that is a tradition we had in our home and I think the family traditions we create are often the most treasured.
In Spain, America, and in most other countries, a family meal is also a big part of the holiday. Check back on Thursday for a recipe and wine pairing perfect for serving on Easter Sunday.
What is your favorite Easter tradition?