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Five Unique Easter Celebrations From Around the World

As thousands from around the world prepare to celebrate the Easter holiday this weekend, beginning with Good Friday, traditional Easter egg hunts and egg-dying are in store for many residents of the United States.

However, other nations across the globe will celebrate in their own way, commemorating the holiday with their own customs.

1. Flying Bells

In a country known for fine dining, a long-standing legend is the pedestal for the nation's symbolic cloche volants, or flying bells.

It is said that on Good Friday all the bells from all of France's churches fly off their respective buildings to the Vatican, carrying all of their town's grief from mourning Christ, according to a Bonjour Paris article. Then these bells return home on Easter morning to ring in correspondence with the resurrection of Christ.

Even today, this tradition is upheld as church bells refrain from ringing until Easter morning, when chocolate candy bells are distributed to celebrate.

This year the weather may put a damper on Easter festivities in Paris, as rather cloudy skies and a few showers are in the forecast for the holiday weekend.

2. The Oxen-Drawn Cart

Centuries old, the tradition of the "Scoppio del Carro" in Florence, Italy, takes place today in the square in front of the city's Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, or the city's main church known also as the Duomo.

The ceremony of the cart began after the infamous Pazzi family failed to overthrow the Medici family and was exiled from the city in the 1090s, according to a Tuscany for Sustainable Tourism article.

The cart is typically adorned with ribbons and pulled by two oxen from Porta al Prato to the square in front of the Duomo. According to the article, a mechanical dove is fixed on an iron wire inside the cart and throughout the clergy's procession to the Baptistry; it slides up and down the wire. At midday, the dove leaves a trail of smoke in its wake down the central nave, or central body of the church, of the Duomo until it reaches the cart where it ignites firecrackers.

After the dove's return to the cart, smoke appears as loud whistles ring out across the church and eventually a explosion occurs and four banners appear with the insignia of the city of Florence, the Pazzi family, the 'Arte della Lana,' or wool guild of the city, and the United Nations Organization emblem.

For Easter weekend 2014, a few showers in the morning may dampen the city, but sunny skies will be present each afternoon.

3. Good Friday Kite Flying

Noted for its private coves and white-sand beaches in the North Atlantic Ocean, Bermuda is also known for flying numerous colorful kites over the Easter holiday.

This tradition is said to have begun when a local teacher had trouble explaining Christ's ascension to heaven to his class so he showed them by launching a kite into the sky, according to Bermuda-Online. Ever since, locals have been constructing handmade kites in various shapes, sizes and colors and launching them on Good Friday to commemorate the holiday.

According to the article, kites are typically launched at Horseshoe Bay and followed by a non-denominational religious service, live music and games.

However, clouds and rain this Easter may make flying kites challenging throughout the country this weekend.

4. Traditional Processions

In various countries across South America and Europe, processions mark the commemoration of the Holy Week.

For San Luis Potosi, Mexico, the city's most iconic tradition takes place on Good Friday, it's known as the Procession of Silence.

Nearly 2,000 people from more than 25 guilds come together to participate in the procession, which starts at dusk. The entire ceremony is done in silence with dimmed street lights, as guilds make their way to Plaza del Carmen, carrying various religious emblems related with the passion and death of Christ, according to VisitMexico.

Seville, Spain, also holds Holy Week celebrations and processions based on the passion and death of Christ. These are known as the procesiones de Semana Santa.

In the city, there are various processions throughout the week organized by different brotherhoods. Each procession walks down a designated route from the home church to the Seville Cathedral then back home, the route is always the shortest distance between the two, a Seville Traveller article stated.

Upon arrival at the cathedral, the members of the procession receive blessing from the archbishop before returning home.

Evening processions in Seville may be a bit chilly this year as highs for Easter weekend are expected to be in the mid-50s. Clouds and a few rain showers may dampen city grounds as well.

5. Easter Markets

Similar to the city's widely visited Christmas markets, Old Town and Wenceslas Squares in Prague, Czech Republic, open Easter markets everyday from the beginning to the end of April.

These markets display and sell various handmade crafts, jewelry and toys, as well as hand-painted Easter eggs. Eggs can even be customized by name or with a personal message.

For shoppers and those walking around the markets, Easter weekend will be partly sunny and warm with highs in the mid-60s during the daytime hours.


Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Kristen Rodman at Kristen.Rodman@accuweather.com, follow her on Twitter @Accu_Kristen or Google+. Follow us @breakingweather, or on Facebook and Google+.