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Pasen (Dutch Easter)

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Pasen (Dutch Easter)
Photo © Karin Engelbrecht
You’ll find the same penchant for chocolate bunnies and Easter egg hunts in Holland as in many other Christian countries, but there are a few Easter traditions unique to the Netherlands. So, for instance, Dutch Easter (Pasen) usually refers to Easter Sunday (Eerste Paasdag) and Easter Monday (Tweede Paasdag). Good Friday is not a public holiday here.

Easter Sunday

Children spend the morning decorating Easter eggs with brightly colored paint and hunting chocolate eggs that have been hidden by the Easter Mummy... uhh... make that the Easter Bunny.

Traditionally, an Easter brunch is held on the Sunday. The table is decorated with the freshly painted Easter eggs, candles, spring flowers like daffodils, tulips and hyacinths, and a vase with decorated willow branches (paastakken). Hanging from this ‘Easter tree’ are chocolate eggs and ornaments like butterflies, bows and bunnies. The brunch consists of a Paasstol (a fruited Easter loaf with a center of soft almond paste), butter shaped like a lamb or bunny, bread rolls, hard boiled eggs, smoked salmon, smoked eel, and other more typical Dutch breakfast items. Also see our collection of Easter Menu Ideas and 15 Fabulously Easy Egg Recipes for Easter and beyond.

Easter Monday

Easter Monday is a public holiday. Weather permitting, Dutch families often spend the day at an amusement park or cycling in the countryside. Bad weather Easters often mean big business for shopping centers and furniture stores. Foodwise, leftovers from Easter Sunday are usually enjoyed. Recently, I saw Advocaat advertised as an Easter tipple. I suppose it makes sense, with all those eggs in the recipe.

Prettige paasdagen (Happy Easter)!

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