Preparations for Easter celebrations begin a day before Lent known as ‘Vastenavond’ or Fast Eve. People in Holland attend churches for Easter services. These services are longer than usual and often conclude with a festive meal. Netherland witnesses the largest turnout of foreign tourists during this time. The popular destinations include the coastal resorts of Scheveningen, the magnificent province of Flevoland and the scenic water front of the famous River Rhine for view Easter celebrations. Even the local people take short vacations on this occasion to nearby destinations.
Boiled or chocolate eggs are brightly colored and beautifully decorated and hidden around the house or garden. The kids are then let out on an Easter egg hunt. Egg hunts are also organized on an extensive level by various organizations. The winner of the egg hunt is awarded with a large chocolate model of a hare or a basket of Easter treats. A popular Easter game, known as Eiertikken, is held in the Netherlands wherein people knock the eggs together to judge who breaks the eggs first.
A large variety of seasonal and luxurious breakfast, brunch and lunch delicacies are prepared on Easter in the Netherlands. Some of the traditional dishes include boiled, poached or fried eggs; paasstol (a rich loaf of bread filled with raisins, nuts and marzipan); butter made into the shape of a lamb; butter flavored with herbs; bread; croissants; cheese; ham; shrimps; smoked fish, mainly salmon or eel; and sweets or chocolates in the shape of eggs or hares. The main course usually consists of lamb, which is considered as a symbol if death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The table is well decorated for Easter brunch. One can find freshly painted Easter eggs, candles, spring flowers like daffodils, tulips and hyacinths, and a vase decorated with willow branches (paastakken) nicely placed on the table. The rural areas in the northern and eastern parts of the Netherlands also light large Easter bonfires, known as paasvuren, at some high point or hill. In fact, the celebrations are incomplete without a bonfire. Competitions are also held amongst the people to light the biggest bonfire. On the day, people wish each other Prettige Paasdagen or Happy Easter to everyone they meet.