Easter is not a very important holiday in the Netherlands. You get off a long weekend, so Easter Monday means a day off and for some people (civil servants) Good Friday is as well. Good Friday is actually nothing more than what the religion books says, no specialties besides the fact that all stores will be closed and almost everyone is free. Sunday, first day of Easter, people go to church if they are religious. Most people will celebrate it with an Easter breakfast with their family and parents will hide chocolate eggs and Easter/chocolate bunnies. And after breakfast the children will search in the house and/or in the backyard for the chocolate. At least in my childhood we did no other special things on Easter Sunday. Easter Monday was just an extra day off, on which Dutch people either visit their family or visit shopping malls or just stay at home.
Here in Ghana Easter really is a big holiday. On Thursday afternoon most people start to travel, they will visit their family in the city. The whole family gathers together. If they did not have the opportunity to travel on Thursday afternoon they will travel on Good Friday. They bring a lot of luggage with them. I have faced this by myself, since another intern and I had to travel to Accra on Thursday to pick up a new intern. There was an enormous line for the trotros, the aircondition vans and the STC busses. There was no way that they will give a place to two Obruni’s (foreigners). We decided to take a shared taxi to Accra after a few tries to get in one of the busses/trotros.
On Sunday everyone goes to church. The churches are crowded; people even have to sit outside since there is not enough space inside. I was invited to go to one of the churches, but I am not so much into churches and besides that I know that regular church on Sunday takes 3 hours. On Easter Sunday it takes double if you are lucky, so church for 5 or 6 hours did not sound that attractive to me.
But Good Friday and Easter Sunday are not the fun parts of Easter I guess. Easter Monday that is the day! I heard at the office during the week some stories about picnics at the beach, party at the beach. Well let me tell you this, Easter Monday is enormous. Everyone, but then really everyone is at the beach. Families bring all their stuff to the beach, they spend the whole day, eating, drinking and dancing at the beach. I saw crowds on the beach, in the sea, at the lawns close to the beach, at other places like squares, lawns at the University of Cape Coast Campus.
It was amazing and a chaotic day; we went to the beach around 1.30 pm, to the beach resort at Cape Coast – Oasis Beach Resort. This place has normally free entrance but now they had a program going on, one of the radio DJ’s of the Cape Coast radio stations was performing so we had to pay 5 Ghana Cedi to get in. And yes it was crowded and we were surprised. This place is normal a sort of Obruni spot but not this time. There were almost no Obruni’s compared to the number of Ghanaian people.
** Unfortunately I did not make any pictures; I guess I was too amazed. **