Easter Loaves from around the World

As Easter Sunday approaches, bakers throughout the Christian world make eggy, brightly decorated breads to grace their Easter breakfast and dinner tables in celebration of the end of Lent. Here are eight of our favorite loaves, and the traditions behind them:

Greek Easter Bread (Tsouréki)

Greek Easter Bread
Tsoureki, a braided easter bread that is probably Byzantine in origin, gets its spicy kick from makhlepi, an essence made from the pits of wild cherries, and black cumin seeds. Red-dyed hard boiled eggs that symbolize the blood of Christ are usually tucked into the bread's folds. Get the recipe for Greek Easter Bread (Tsouréki) »Farideh Sadeghin

Russian Kulich

Russian bakers decorate the dome-shaped tops of their kulich, a golden-brown, yeasty Easter bread, with an egg wash or white glaze, chopped almonds, brightly colored sugar, currants, and candied orange peel.

Italian Gubana

In the Friuli region of Italy, the practice of preparing Gubana, a strudel-like Easter bread filled with walnuts, pine nuts, raisins, and cocoa, dates back to the 16th century.

Colomba Pasquale, an Italian Easter bread flavored with amaretto and decorated with candied almonds, is made of the same sweet dough as Christmas panettone. The bread's name, which means dove in Italian, comes from the traditional practice of molding the dough into the shape of a dove to symbolize peace. Get the recipe for Pandolce Alto »

Hot Cross Buns

british hot cross buns
Made with currants and iced with the shape of the cross, hot cross buns are traditionally eaten in England on Good Friday. During the Elizabethan Age, the Protestants in England tried to stop the sale of the buns, saying that they were a Catholic tradition, but Elizabeth I passed a law that allowed the sweets to be sold during Easter, Christmas, and funerals. Get the recipe for Hot Cross Buns »Laura Sant

French Pogne

This Easter delicacy from the Rhone-Alps region of France is perfumed with orange blossom water and molded into a full doughnut shape. Some bakers decorate the top with pink pralines, giving the bread a bright, festive hue.

Braided Cardamom Bread (Pulla)

Braided Cardamom Bread (Pulla)
This braided, cardamom-spiced bread is a common holiday treat in Finland. It can be baked as both a single braided loaf and individual-size knots. See our recipe for Braided Cardamom Bread (Pulla) » Todd Coleman

Armenian Choreg

Armenian cooks decorate Choreg, a braided, eggy Easter bread, with sesame or poppy seeds.