Must-see processions and activities on Good Friday
These are some of my favorite Good Friday and Easter activities around Lake Geneva and beyond.
The mourners, or les pleureuses, of Romont procession is in my opinion a must see in Suisse romande. It takes place in the small medieval town of Romont, canton Fribourg.
The Good Friday ceremony begins at 15:00 with a reading of the Passion of Christ.
When the funeral procession is mentioned, the cortege, made up of a cross bearer and 20 women veiled in black, take to the fourteen stations of the cross. The stations are placed around and inside the church.
The actual procession does not take long, 20 minutes at best, but it is very solemn and beautiful to watch or photograph.
After visiting the stations of the cross located outside the church, the retinue of mourners head back inside the church where the Good Friday mass begins.
After mass, several priests offer individual prayers or private counseling to mass-goers. All throughout however, the pleureuses stay still in the church atrium, never revealing their faces.
This is probably one of the most solemn and beautiful Good Friday processions in the country.
Weekend getaway idea
Canton Ticino hosts tens of Good Friday processions around the canton, none bigger than the one in Mendrisio which involves over 600 participants on foot and horses carrying lanterns, dressed in medieval costumes, while small bands play dirges.
Thousands of people show up for the wonderful Maundy Thursday and Good Friday processions which had their start in the 1600s.
After the processions end, spectators and participants alike join in late dinners (many quaint restaurants serve past midnight). Impromptu get-togethers erupt on the streets of the medieval town and small parties spring up everywhere.
This is a great Easter weekend family getaway. There are many campsites and adorable B&Bs in the area and food is affordable. All in all, a good idea if on a budget.
Buy the Ticino train day pass and alternatively either walk from town to town or take one of the small trains to scout the area.
The day pass also offers you the opportunity to go to Milan for the day, for the same price.
If staying in Geneva
A Good Friday farmers market takes place in Plainpalais. Tens of sellers offer local cheeses, olives, organic vegetables and artisanal food products such as home-made confitures, candles and more; a small flea market also takes place on the plain.
Easter egg hunts and other activities
There are several Easter egg hunts scheduled in the area; bear in mind that some take place on Saturday.
Older crowds may prefer going to Payerne which holds its annual antiques fair during the Easter weekend. Teens and young-at-heart manga fans however, may be better suited to attend the crazy Polymanga fest in Lausanne on Easter Sunday.
For a selection of what to do during the Easter weekend, see the selection I have picked for you in our Events page.
Religious services for Good Friday and Easter around Lake Geneva
This list is limited to services offered by Catholic and Protestant churches. For services offered by other churches or denominations including the Anglican and Episcopal churches and the Church of England, see our Resources page.
- Canton Geneva – List includes Holy Thursday and Good Friday services in Catholic churches and Protestant temples in the canton
- Canton Vaud – Catholic and Protestant services in the canton
- Canton Valais – Catholic and Protestant churches/temples that offer services in French and German speaking areas
Whatever you do, have a great Easter!