Beyond colorful hard-boiled eggs, there are many specialties that are part of the traditional Easter meals enjoyed around the world. Easter is celebrated with plenty of unique and delicious foods and varies by country from a marzipan-topped fruit cake in the UK to a stuffed savory pie in Argentina.

While much of the world celebrates the arrival of spring with lamb, the pink, sweet and salty slices of cured pork have become the American tradition. Eating ham at Easter dates to the sixth century in Germany, according to Bruce Kraig, founder of Culinary Historians of Chicago and author of “Man Bites Dog.”

Many families in the U.S. indulge in a baked ham for Easter. The ham is sweet, thanks to either a glaze made from honey and brown sugar, or from being covered in sliced pineapple.

The reason ham is traditionally eaten at Easter is because it’s in season. A single ham is usually enough to feed a large group of people, so it’s ideal for a big family dinner.

A traditional Easter ham is typically cured in brine or salt and smoked, which means it is fully cooked, and only needs to be reheated. The variations are many: whole, half, bone-in, semi-bone, or boneless. A leftover bone, which many cooks want, can be used for another meal, like a bean soup.

Lamb is a common food for the Easter celebrations of many cultures. The roasted lamb dinner that many eat on Easter Sunday predates Easter — it is derived from the first Passover Seder of the Jewish people. You can find recipes featuring different flavorings and spices depending on the dishes’ origin.

The French have an Easter recipe for leg of lamb known as “le gigot d’agneau Pascal.” While the name might seem complicated, the recipe is fairly simple. The meat is seasoned with garlic and herbs such as rosemary, and then roasted.

There are many special foods eaten at Easter time and one of the most famous are hot cross buns. These are often eaten in the U.K. on Good Friday. They are yeast dough buns with currants and raisins in them. They seem to have been created by a medieval monk in the English town of St. Albans where they were given to pilgrims at Easter time. The early version has more spice and less fruit in them.

Another food eaten in the U.K. at Easter time is Simnel Cake. This is a rich fruit cake covered with a layer of marzipan.

In Italy, salty pretzels are traditionally eaten at Easter time. In Russia, little pancakes called blinis topped with anchovies and a mixture of cream, soft cream, dried fruit and orange peel called paska are eaten.

A traditional Greek Easter cake is made with oranges and almonds in it. It is eaten with a spicy orange sauce poured over it. And Easter breakfast in Greece might even be lamb soup.

Travel to New Zealand or Eastern Europe, and you’ll find that lamb — particularly in spring —when it is still plentiful, but it has never experienced the level of popularity in America that it sees elsewhere.

In Argentina, Tarta Pascualina “Eastertime Tart,” is a savory pie filled with ricotta, hard boiled eggs, spinach, artichoke, and parsley. Since it is meatless, it’s a common dish during Lent, and the many eggs used to make it symbolize the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In Finland it’s mämmi for Easter you need to start the preparation days in advance, as it needs to be stored chilled for three to four days before being served. The traditional dessert is made from water, molasses, malted rye, rye flour, and Seville orange zest for seasoning. It’s usually eaten cold with milk or cream.

In Poland they serve white borscht, also referred to as zurek; it isn’t exclusively made at Easter, but it’s common during the holiday. Made from soured rye flour, sausage, and hard-boiled eggs, the soup is hearty and filling.

Known as kerbelsuppe in German, chervil soup is made from chervil, a herb related to parsley. The soup is typically eaten on Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter), which is known as Gründonnerstag, or Green Thursday in German — hence the green soup.

Rosquillas de Semana Santa, or Easter doughnuts in Spain taste more like cake then doughnuts since they’re made with fermented flour instead of yeast.

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