History of Easter and the Easter Bunny©
Since its conception
as a holy celebration in the second century, Easter has had its
non-religious side. In fact, Easter was originally a pagan festival.
The ancient Saxons
celebrated the return of spring with an uproarious festival
commemorating their goddess of offspring and of springtime, Eastre. When
the second-century Christian missionaries encountered the tribes of the
north with their pagan celebrations, they attempted to convert them to
Christianity. They did so, however, in a clandestine manner.
It would have been suicide for the very early Christian converts to celebrate their holy days with observances that did not coincide with celebrations that already existed. To save lives, the missionaries cleverly decided to spread their religious message slowly throughout the populations by allowing them to continue to celebrate pagan feasts, but to do so in a Christian manner.
As it happened, the pagan festival of Eastre occurred at the same time of year as the Christian observance of the Resurrection of Christ. It made sense, therefore, to alter the festival itself, to make it a Christian celebration as converts were slowly won over. The early name, Eastre, was eventually changed to its modern spelling, Easter.
The Date of Easter
Prior to A.D. 325, Easter was variously celebrated on different days of the week, including Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. In that year, the Council of Nicaea was convened by Emperor Constantine. It issued the Easter Rule which states that Easter shall be celebrated on the first Sunday that occurs after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox. However, a caveat must be introduced here. The "full moon" in the rule is the ecclesiastical full moon, which is defined as the fourteenth day of a tabular lunation, where day 1 corresponds to the ecclesiastical New Moon. It does not always occur on the same date as the astronomical full moon. The ecclesiastical "vernal equinox" is always on March 21. Therefore, Easter must be celebrated on a Sunday between the dates of March 22 and April 25.
The Lenten Season
Lent is the
forty-six day period just prior to Easter Sunday. It begins on Ash
Wednesday. Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday") is a
celebration, sometimes called "Carnival," practiced around the
world, on the Tuesday prior to Ash Wednesday. It was designed as a way
to "get it all out" before the sacrifices of Lent began. New
Orleans is the focal point of Mardi Gras celebrations in the U.S. Read
about the religious meanings of the Lenten Season.
highlight of the year for Christians is Easter, the day when our Lord
rose from the dead. Lent is a forty-day season of preparation for
Easter. Lent always begins on a Wednesday, called Ash Wednesday.
Why 40 days? Simply
because, Jesus fasted and was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days.
Lent, then, is our time of fasting, prayer, temptation and repentance.
Lent is not required anywhere in scriptures, but it has been a custom,
which Christians have practiced for most of the last two thousand years.
In many languages, the word "Lent" actually means
"fast." This is where the custom of giving up something for
However, just to
confuse things, Lent is actually 46 days rather than 40 days. Why? The
40 days of Lent are supposed to be days of fasting, which means days of
discipline and self-restraint. But Sunday, the Lord's Day, should never
be a day of fasting, but a day of celebration! So each Sunday we suspend
our Lenten disciplines and celebrate. Lent is 40 "fasting"
days spread out over a total of 46 days beginning on Ash Wednesday.
focus of Lent was always threefold:
It was a time to
prepare new converts for baptism through intensive classes and
It was a time for
long-standing Christians to review their lives and renew their
commitment to Jesus Christ.
It was a time for
backsliders to be restored to the faith.
In every case, it is
a time for serious, disciplined self-examination, a time spent in
intensive prayer and repentance before the cross of Calvary.
To represent the
dark and serious business of Lent, one custom has been to strip the
sanctuary of all flowers, candles, and colors during Lent. This custom
helps us to turn inward and examine ourselves, even as it reminds us of
the dark and colorless Sabbath day when Jesus lay dead in the tomb.
In Greece people
like to eat fish on Palm Sunday. In some German towns people decorate
poles with streamers and branches of pussy willow. Christians in Lebanon
like to wear new clothes on Palm Sunday. In Italy it is regarded as a
day or making up quarrels.
An Old Rhyme says:
It is an ancient
tradition in Britain to climb the nearest hill to see the sunrise. In
America they hold outdoor services at dawn in such places as the
Hollywood Bowl. On this day it is also tradition to wear new clothes
which have been carried on to the modern "Easter Parade".
There is always a
Feast with various foods in different countries such as hot cross buns
in Australia; simnel cake in Britain; pacoca in Brazil; Easter cakes in
Finland and Italy; turkey or chicken in Lebanon; and pasenbrood in the
Eastertide goes on until Whit Sunday, fifty days after Easter day. The day is also known as Pentecost. Several other days during Eastertide are; the first Sunday after Easter is
known as Low Sunday.
In England the Monday and Tuesday following Low Sunday are called
Hocktide. Hocktide Monday is were the women bind and gag them until they
pay a ransom, then on Tuesday it's the men's turn to do the same in kind
to the women. This tradition is at least a thousand years old.
The Cross is the symbol of the Crucifixion, as opposed to the Resurrection. However, at the Council of Nicaea, in A.D. 325, Constantine decreed that the Cross was the official symbol of Christianity. The Cross is not only a symbol of Easter, but it is more widely used, especially by the Catholic Church, as a year-round symbol of their faith.
||The Easter Bunny is not a modern invention. The symbol originated with the pagan festival of Eastre. The goddess, Eastre, was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthly symbol, the rabbit. The Easter bunny has its origin in pre-Christian fertility lore. The Hare and the Rabbit were the most fertile animals known and they served as symbols of the new life during the spring season.|
The Germans brought the symbol of the Easter rabbit to America. The bunny as an Easter symbol seems to have it's origins in Germany, where it was first mentioned in German writings in the 1500s. The first edible Easter bunnies were made in Germany during the early 1800s. The first bunnies were not made of chocolate; they were made of pastry and sugar.
It was widely ignored by other Christians until shortly after the Civil War. In fact, Easter by its self was not widely celebrated in America until after that time.
As I mentioned the Easter bunny was introduced to American folklore by the
German settlers who arrived in the Pennsylvania Dutch country during the
1700s. The arrival of the "Oschter Haws" was considered
"childhood's greatest pleasure" next to a visit from Christ-Kindel
on Christmas Eve. The children believed that if they were good the "Oschter
Haws" would lay a nest of colored eggs.
From the earliest times, the egg was a symbol of rebirth in most cultures. Eggs were often wrapped in gold leaf or, if you were a peasant, colored brightly by boiling them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers.
believed a white hare would leave brightly colored eggs for all good
children on Easter morning. Early
American children built nests of leaves and sticks in their gardens for
the Easter Hare to fill with colored eggs.
By the 19th century in America, the Easter Hare had become the
Easter Bunny delighting children with baskets of eggs, chocolates, candy
chicks, jelly beans and other gifts on Easter morning.
Today, children hunt colored eggs and place them in Easter baskets along with the modern version of real Easter eggs -- those made of plastic or chocolate candy.
As a child I can remember that all Chocolate Easter Bunnies and Eggs were solid chocolate. Also, it was a tradition to make hard boiled eggs and then dip dye them. I enjoyed decorating the eggs, but never liked eating hard boiled eggs.Originally Easter eggs were painted with bright colors to represent
the sunlight of spring and were used in Easter-eggrolling
contests or given as gifts. After they were colored and etched with
various designs the eggs were exchanged by lovers and romantic admirers,
much the same as valentines. In medieval time eggs were traditionally
given at Easter to the servants. In Germany eggs were given to children
along with other Easter gifts.
Pysanki eggs are a
masterpiece of skill and workmanship. Melted beeswax is applied to the
fresh white egg. It is then dipped in successive baths of dye. After
each dip wax is painted over the area where the preceding color is to
remain. Eventually a complex pattern of lines and colors emerges into a
work of art. Pysanki is
truly an art form, but one that can easily be accomplished with lots of
practice and a steady hand. Here are some of the ones that I have done.
|In Germany and other countries eggs used for cooking where not broken, but the contents were removed by piercing the end of each egg with a needle and blowing the contents into a bowl. The hollow eggs were died and hung from shrubs and trees during the Easter Week. The Armenians would decorate hollow eggs with pictures of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and other religious designs.|
||Even some facts about Easter candy are interesting. The first chocolate eggs were made in Europe in the early 19th century and remain among the most popular treats associated with Easter. 90 million chocolate Easter bunnies are made for Easter each year. 16 billion jelly beans are made for Easter. Each day, five million marshmallow chicks and bunnies are produced in preparation for Easter. Easter is the second top-selling confectionery holiday behind only Halloween. 88 percent of adults carry on the Easter tradition of creating Easter baskets for their kids. 76 percent of people eat the ears on chocolate bunnies first. Red|
jelly beans are kids' favorite. According to the Guinness Book of World Records the largest Easter egg ever made was just over 25-ft high and made of chocolate and marshmallow. The egg weighed 8,968 lbs. and was supported by an internal steel frame.
like any other holiday has its own songs.
Carols aren't only sung at Christmas they are also sung at Easter. One
such Easter carol its words in latin began as Tempus adest floridum
which can be translated as Spring has now brought forth the flowers.
French carol for Easter has words which begin Cheer up, friends and
neighbors, now its Easter tide. Another Easter carol has the title
Easter Eggs and is traditional Russian Song.
comes Peter Cottontail”
Hoppin' down the bunny trail,
Easter's on its way
Bringin' ev'ry girl and boy
A basketful of Easter joy
Things to make your Easter
Bright and gay
|He's got jelly beans for Tommy
Colored eggs for sister Sue
There's an orchid for your mommy
And an Easter bonnet too. Oh!
Here' comes Peter Cottontail
Hoppin' down the bunny trail
Happy Easter Day
Look at him hop and listen to him say,
"Try to do the things you should"
Maybe if you're extra good
He'll roll lots of Easter eggs your way
You'll wake up on Easter morning
And you'll know that he was there
When you find those choc'late bunnies That he's hiding ev’rywhere, Oh!
Here' comes Peter Cottontail
Hoppin' down the bunny trail
Happy Easter Day
||I remember these things the most from my early childhood. The movie, “Easter Parade” had just come out. Plus, we always got new clothes for Easter and of course everyone wore hats in those days. We always had to have a purse and black paten leather shoes called “Mary Jane’s”, plus one never went out without one’s white gloves. We had Easter Bonnets! We all went to church in the morning and we even walked down Fifth Avenue. I remember when I|
|was about 12 years old; a lady came along in her bonnet complete with
a live leopard on a leash!
Then we have that famous song
written by Irving Berlin.
You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade.
I'll be all in clover and when they look you over,
I'll be the proudest fellow in the Easter Parade.
On the avenue, Fifth Avenue, the photographers will snap us,
And you'll find that you're in the rotogravure.
Oh, I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet,
And of the girl I'm taking to the Easter Parade
a child I remember that traditional English song, “Hot Cross Buns”.
Hot cross buns!
traditional Easter songs, there is a traditional Greek Easter Song.
has come again, Easter, Easter,
What lovely clothes, Easter,
Another traditional Greek Easter song is about the
happiness and joy of carnival time and the wearing of fancy dress and
masks to celebrate this festivity and it is called “The
carnival came to us with happiness and joy,
Forget poverty and troubles,
stop complaining my friends!
Easter even has its own symbols and
meanings. Here are some of them.
Are rung in France and Italy throughout the year but they are not rung
on the Thursday before good Friday. They are silent as way to remember
the death of Jesus. They are then rung on Easter Sunday as way of
telling people Jesus is alive again.
This is the symbol for the Christian religion as Jesus was nailed to a
cross but then came back to life.
|The Easter Lily:-
The lily was a reminder to the Christians of how Jesus came back to
life. The white Easter Lily is used in many Easter services. It is
supposed to be a symbol of the purity of the Virgin Mary.
Such as daffodil, narcissus and the tulip. Area symbol as they bloom in
Rabbits are reminder of spring and new life. They were the favorite
animal of the spring goddess Eastre.
These are a symbol of spring as well as Easter. They are a sign of new
|Chicks:- The chicks are born from eggs and are a reminder of spring and Easter.||
Candles give light in darkness. Jesus is seen as "the eternal
light" showing Christians the way from death to life.
These are used as a symbol of peace.
Unleavened flat bread is eaten to remember Jesus’ sacrifice.
Red wine is drunk to remember Jesus shedding His blood for humans.
These are believed to frighten away evil spirits. They also show that
out of darkness comes light.
Easter is celebrated around the world.
In many languages
Easter has names that come from Pesach. They include the French Paques,
the Spanish Pascua and the Italian Pasqua. On Barbados, the festivities mean lots of outdoor concerts and
the Northern part of Argentina
they hold the Carnival. Preparations for the Carnival begin when the algarroba
beans are ripe. There are the sounds of singing and jangling of the charango
which is a type of ukulele, two drinks called aloja and chicha
are prepared in large amounts, and the houses are whitewashed and
cleaned. They gather the herb basil and they wear hats and ponchos. This
is done to ward of the evil spirits so it is said.
On the Thursday
before Ash Wednesday the tincunaco ceremony is celebrated.
Mothers and grandmothers are gathered in two lines one line with mothers
and the other one the grandmothers around an arch made of willow
branches. The arch is decorated with fruit, flowers, cheese, sweets and
tiny lanterns. The two groups meet under the arch and exchange a doll
which is touched on each other's forehead. This is seen as a sacred
ceremony and is said to unite the women with a bond only death can
On Sunday the
Carnival reaches its climax. Women in their traditional attire of wide
ruffled skirts, colorful ponchos, and white hats mask their faces with
starch and water. They sing folksongs and ride on horseback to where the
dance is being held in honor of Pukllay which is the Spirit of Carnival.
Once the celebrations have come to an end, a rag doll representing
Pukllay is buried as a symbol that it is the end of Carnival
Armenia, Armenian Easter eggs are decorated with pictures of Christ, the
Virgin Mary, and other religious designs.
Australia Easter is celebrated
with public holidays, church services, eggs, rabbits and fun. It is
celebrated in March or April, which is autumn unlike other countries in
the Northern Hemisphere where it is spring. In Sydney, Australia there
is an agricultural show known as "the Royal Easter Show”, which
has displays of the countries best produce, farm animals, parades,
rides, fireworks, food, sideshows and fun.
They enjoy the
Easter holidays, which is the end of summer. Especially the children,
love Easter eggs, chocolate rabbits, chocolate bilbies and time together
with the family.
In Australia the
Australians prefer the Bilby as the symbol for Easter as it is
native to Australia and also because of the fact that the rabbit has
destroyed land, crops, vegetation and burrows of other native Australian
In Australia they
play a game called Egg Knocking game.
To play the Egg Knocking game every one pairs up and everyone
then chooses an egg. The two partners take turns tapping their partner's
egg with theirs. The first egg to crack loses and the winner goes on to
challenge other winners until there is one egg left.
also enjoys playing the Egg
Knocking game. In Austria
green eggs are used on Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday. In Austria a
modern festival is held.
In Austria people
cook crullers in the fat, which are thick doughnuts.
Belgium children watch for an
old man who flies with the bells to Rome to collect eggs from the Pope.
Brazil every year since 1950
the village of Fazenda has performed a passion play. Thousands of people
watch as volunteers act out the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus.
In Rio de Janeiro
one of the world's most famous carnivals is held before Lent. Carnival
means goodbye to meat. This is due to the fact that people don't eat
meat at Lent.
In Brazil groups of
people spend most of the year preparing for the carnival. They make
costumes, practice music and dances for the parades. Other people make
floats for the parade. It is a time for dancing, eating and drinking
before the fasting of Lent.
Other towns and
cities in Brazil have celebrations during the Carnival period, such as
Recife who are well known for their folkloric representations and two
well known folk dances, the Maracatu and the Frevo. Holy
Week in Brazil begins with the blessing of the palm branches, which are
woven in intricate patterns representing crosses, banners, letters, and
other related objects. Streets are decorated with colored patterns drawn
on the road surface over which a procession walks, carrying statues of
Mary and the body of Christ. A special food called pacoca, is
prepared by mixing together crushed nuts and other ingredients into a
paste, which is given to visitors. On Easter Saturday, Carnival makes a
brief reappearance with a Hangover Ball to celebrate the hanging
|In many parts of England dancers called "Morris dancers" perform on Easter Sunday. These dances are very old spring dances to frighten away the veil spirits of winter. The dancers wear white shorts, red sashes, black trousers and straw hats with lots of flowers and streamers. Red and green ribbons and little bells are tied onto the dancers. As the dancers move||
|quickly the bells ring and the ribbons wave. In the town of Olney in Great Britain they have had pancake
races on Shrove Tuesday for over 500 years. In Britain, traditionally
simnel cake is baked for tea. Originally simnel cakes were given for
Mother's Day. For the game
of Pancake Races, everyone gathers in the center of town. The racers
hold frying pans with hot pancakes still cooking in them. When the word
"Go!" is said they dash to the church, flipping their pancakes
as they run. They must flip their pancakes at least three times before
they reach the church.
who live in Olney, a town in
England, celebrate Pancake Tuesday with a special event. They
hold a pancake race on every Shrove Tuesday for over 500 years.
People in England,
hundreds of years ago began eating ham on Easter Sunday.
In some parts of
England, these springtime dancers are called Morris Dancers. They
wear white shirts and red sashes. They have straw hats with streamers
that dip and curl when they dance. Red and green ribbons are tied above
the knees of their black trousers. Rows of little bells jingle as the
dancers perform. The Morris dance is hundreds of years old.
England, a favorite custom on Easter
Monday and Easter Tuesday was called lifting or heaving. This
is where young men went from home to home in the village. They carried a
chair decorated with flowers. When a girl or a woman sat in the chair,
they lifted her into the air three times. Being lifted was supposed to
bring her good luck. She thanked the young men with money and a kiss. On
the Tuesday following Easter Monday, it was the women's turn to lift the
men in a chair. In England, pussy willow branches are picked especially
for Easter. People tap each other with them for good luck.
Bulgaria they don't carry the
eggs around or hide them they throw them at each other and whoever comes
out of the game with their egg unbroken is the winner and they will be
the most successful person of the family for the next year. This
is probably were the egg toss games came from.
Or another variation
as the eggs is cracked after the midnight service and during the next
days. One egg is cracked on the wall of the church. The ritual of
cracking the eggs takes place before the Easter lunch. Each person
selects his/her egg. Then people take turns tapping their egg against
the eggs of others, and the person who ends up with the last unbroken
egg is believed to have a year of good luck.
Another tradition is
the oldest woman of the family wipes the faces of all the children in
the house with the first red egg colored, which is supposed to bring
them happiness and keep them healthy and strong. The
most predominate tradition is the making of the Easter bread. The bread
is made by all women not bought and has a taste that is tasty, sweet,
aromatic and rich and shows the temperament of the Bulgarians.
greeting is "Christ is Risen!" to which is said "Indeed
He is Risen!" This is the greeting during 40 days after Pascha.
Also, These greetings are exchanged during the tapping of the eggs they
are repeated 3 times and the actual tapping is after that.
we lived near the Canadian
border for many years, we were very familiar with the celebration of
Easter in Quebec. In Quebec
City, Canada they hold a carnival known as the Winter Carnival which has
a big parade and special sporting events such as skating, skiing, and
tobogganing. In Quebec,
eggs are forbidden during Lent but after fasting, eggs are eaten in
Sunday before Easter in Chile
is celebrated as Palm Sunday or also called Domingo de Ramos. The
celebration is held with a mass or in some places as a procession. On
Good Friday there is fasting and people eat fish instead of meat. There
are programs on radio referred to as "mourning". Mourning
programs are special music and this continues until Sunday morning with
the resurrection of Jesus.
In towns around the
capital of Santiago people have been celebrating a religious fiesta
since the 16th century. The fiesta is known as Quasimodo and is
of Latin origin, and represents the first word of an opening prayer
which is said in the mass that occurs the first Sunday after Easter.
Spanish times the day on which
Quasimodo is held was the customary day for priests to take Communion to
the old and the sick that had been unable to go to church during Easter.
Sometimes attacks occurred on priests so a group of guards would
accompany the priests safely whilst performing their duties. After the
priests performed the Sacrament, the day ended with rodeos and
At the finish of the
day celebrations occur with the Eucharist in an open-air mass. The
Fiesta Quasimodo is full of spectacular color, song, and excitement for
the huasos which are cowboys or horsemen because it has continued
for so many generations.
Chinese believed in the
sacredness of eggs and gave them as gifts during joyful celebrations.
Eggs have been a symbol of spring and fertility. For at least 3000 years
ago the Chinese painted eggs red for spring festivals. Historic
documentation tells us that in 722 B.C. a Chinese Chieftain gave painted
eggs as gifts in celebration of a spring festival.
Crete they make special bread
called Paschal bread. It is round with moulded flowers on top,
the symbols of spring.
in Czechoslovakia is called Velikonoce
and is an important festival with many customs, some of which date back
to pre-Christian times.
In Czechoslovakia they are famous for their beautifully decorated Easter eggs, which are done using the batik method.
Czechoslovakia at Easter they eat wonderful coffee bread called Babovka.
A special food eaten
at Easter is Mazanec which is a yeast-raised cake filled with almonds,
raisins and citron. A cross is cut into the top of the cake just before
it goes into the oven. They
celebrate both Easter Monday as well as Easter Sunday. The traditional
name for Easter Monday is Whipping Monday, because on this day
the village boys used to playfully threaten the girls with switches. In
modern times, Easter Monday is a day for open house, when anybody and
everybody is likely to drop in. Greetings are exchanged and fruits and
cakes are served. It is traditional to serve guests small glasses of
Egypt the Israelites used
lamb's blood to save their firstborn. The reason was that Jesus was
called the "Lamb of God" because His sacrifice forgives
Lent in the Coptic
Church of Egypt lasts for 55 days, which includes a preliminary week of
modified fasting. No meat, fish, eggs or milk are supposed to be eaten
during Lent. This fasting is extended as Lent goes on so that by Holy
Week people are observing a stricter fast, in which they eat mainly
vegetables and beans.
On Palm Sunday the
church is decorated with palms and flowers, and children are given palm
branches blessed with holy water they take home and keep all year.
During Holy Week,
people go to church every day. There are services leading up to the main
Easter service on Saturday night, which lasts until 3-4 a.m. on Easter
morning. Bells are rung to proclaim Christ's resurrection, and there is
a procession with the newly lit candles. Easter
Sunday is spent visiting friends and relatives, and there is a special
Easter dinner in the afternoon. Easter Monday is a public holiday
because of an ancient spring festival which is celebrated on this day.
People spend the day outdoors in parks or gardens and exchange colored
Ethiopian Easter festival is
called Fassika. This festival celebrates the day when Jesus
Christ rose from the dead after being crucified. Palm Sunday or Hosaina
happens the Sunday before Easter. This day marks the beginning of Holy
Week and celebrates the story of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a
donkey. Ethiopians wear headbands of palm leaves on this day to remind
them of the palm leaves that were laid in Jesus' path.
The period before
Easter Sunday is called Lent. During lent, Ethiopian Christians avoid
any animal products, such as meat, eggs, butter, milk, yoghurt, cream
and cheese. After they have been to the Easter eve service the family
returns home to break their fast and later in the afternoon, they share
the main celebratory meal of the day.
At the Easter
service all Ethiopians wear traditional white clothes, called yabesha
During all their
holidays, Ethiopians eat huge special sourdough bread called Dabo.
They bake enough to offer a slice to everybody who visits the house. On
Easter morning, the bread should be cut, after saying a prayer, by a
priest or by the main man of the house.
Europe, Palm Sunday is called
Willow, Yew, or Blossom Sunday. In parts of Europe, Easter Monday was a
day for pushing friends into the water.
In Finland, on Shrove
Tuesday, people cook a pancake called Blini.
Shrove Tuesday is referred to as Mardi Gras or Fat
Tuesday. In France, church bells ring joyfully during the year. But
the bells stop ringing on the Thursday before Good Friday. They are
silent for a few days while people remember the death of Jesus. On
Easter Sunday morning, the bells ring out, telling people that Jesus is
alive again. When people hear the bells, they kiss and hug one another.
|Many children wake up on Easter Sunday
and find eggs scattered about their rooms. They look in the nests they
have placed in their yards or gardens and find Easter eggs in them. The
eggs are said to have been bought from Rome where the bell ringing had
gone to see the Pope and when the bells returned they bought with them
In some parts of
France, children look for four white horses pulling a chariot full of
In France the
children throw eggs up in the air. The first one to drop it loses.
An old French custom
was a contest of rolling raw eggs down a gentle slope--the surviving egg
was the victory egg and symbolized the stone being rolled away from the
In France an egg
game played is that in which the eggs were thrown up in the air and
caught. The boy who dropped his egg had to pay a forfeit.
In France the
children are told that it is the church bells that have been to Rome to
fetch them their eggs.
Germany Easter is started by covering the cross on Good Friday. On this
day they eat dishes which have fish in them. Easter starts with mass,
which is started on Saturday evening and continues until Sunday morning.
On Sunday it is Family Day on this day they have a special
Easter lunch and they have colored eggs and a cake which is shaped like
They also eat other
sweet foods such as cookies, cake and chocolate on this day and the best
part of the day is the hiding of the eggs and cookies in the garden.
Another tradition is
the Easter Fire which is where all the old Christmas trees
are gathered up and burnt in a special place, this is done so as to
clean away the last signs of winter and moving onto spring.
In Germany green
eggs are used on Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday.
A town in Germany
called Oberammergau, performs a passion play at Easter time. A passion
play tells the story of the suffering, crucifixion and death of Jesus.
1200 villagers approximately perform in this six-hour play.
In Germany, just
before the beginning of Lent, it is carnival time called Fasching.
In Fasching parades in the city of Cologne, people wear masks and
giant-sized papier-mache heads, sometimes twice the size of their
Germans cook a type
of thick doughnut called a Cruller to use up fat before Lent. In
some villages people hold an Easter walk or ride in memory of the walk
Jesus took to His death and on Easter Saturday night children light huge
They have an egg
tree. This is a small tree branch put in a vase about two weeks before
Easter. Real eggs that have been painted and decorated are hung from the
branches. Other small, highly decorated eggs the family has collected
are also hung on the tree.
In Germany, children
play a game called Chocolate Kiss. Chocolate Kiss is played with
chocolate-covered marshmallows. The object of the game is to gobble up
marshmallows without allowing others to smear your face with the
chocolate. The winner is the person who can eat the most chocolate
marshmallows with the cleanest face.
Egg Gathering is a
popular outdoor game in Germany. A long stretch of grass or track is
needed for this race. Colored, hard-boiled eggs are placed in a line
down the stretch of the grass or track. There must be a line of eggs for
each racer. The lines should have equal numbers of eggs. Each
racer holds a basket and stands at the start of a line of eggs. When the
word "Go!" is shouted, each racer runs down a line of eggs,
picking up the eggs in the line and putting them into the basket. The
winner is the first one to cross the finish line with all the eggs from
his or her line collected in the basket.
Also in Germany,
eggs used for cooking are not broken but are emptied by blowing the
contents into a bowl through pinholes at either end of the hen's egg.
The hollow eggs are then died and hung from shrubs and trees during
Eggs date back to
the Roman Empire, when people would paint eggs in bright colors to
represent the sunlight of spring for use in egg-rolling contests or as
gifts. Eggs represented fertility and were considered good luck.
Greece, the egg honors the
blood of Christ by exchanging Crimson eggs.
In Greece, there are
outdoor banquets on Easter Sunday. The feast of barbequed lamb, eggs,
bread, salads, and Easter cake is spread on long tables for everyone to
In Greece people
carry around a brightly colored egg on Easter Sunday. When they meet
another person they knock their eggs together and say, "Christ is
Greeks eat a round,
flat loaf marked with a cross that is decorated with red Easter eggs
called a Christopsomon.
Easter is a very
important family religious festival. Greeks fast through Lent. On Good
Friday flags fly at half-mast, church bells toll, then in the evening
after holy service a candle-lit procession - priests in their robes,
gilt crosses and then the congregation - file to the town square.
Saturday is a day of
happy preparation. Churches are decorated and everyone cooks a feast.
Easter eve the churches are crowded, everyone with unlit candles. At
midnight the lights go out. The priest brings out alighted candle and
the flame is passed from one candle to another. "Christos anesti!"
Christ is risen, the priest proclaims. Bells, fireworks, jubilation! The
next day it's feasting and merry-making.
In Hawaii, many people believed that the world was created from a giant egg and that the sun was the yolk of the egg. The ancient people of Hawaii thought that this giant egg burst and its pieces formed the Hawaiian Islands.
week preceding Easter in Hungary
is a period of great activity when women spring-clean their homes and
bake traditional Easter pastries. In the villages, hardboiled eggs are
dyed in various colors and hand-painted with intricate geometrical or
stylized floral designs. This is a traditional folk art in Hungary and
patterns vary from region to region. Good
Friday starts the Easter period on a somber note. Church services are
held at 3 o'clock in the afternoon when church-goers all over the
country recall the crucifixion of the Savior.
church services are held in the morning. After the service the people
carry a statue of Christ and religious banners in a procession through
the parish, singing appropriate hymns. Easter Monday in Hungary was
referred to as Ducking Monday. Now, boys sprinkle girls with perfume or
perfumed water. They wish one another good luck. The girls must reward
the boys who spray them. They give the children coins or Easter eggs. Easter
Monday is also a day of hospitality when visitors are welcome, Easter
greetings are exchanged and guests are served traditional Easter
pastries and small glasses of apricot or plum brandy. In Hungary eggs
were often decorated with red flowers on a white ground.
Ireland, people dance in the
streets on Easter Sunday. The dancers compete for the prize of a cake.
In Ireland Easter is a very sacred time of fasting and prayer. On Easter
Saturday at church hundreds of small candles are lit off the Paschal
candle that has been blessed by the priest. On Easter Sunday a quiet
meal is eaten at home and it consists of the traditional Easter meal of
leek soup and roasted spring lamb.
Good Friday was an
extremely solemn day in Ireland. Most people eat nothing at all until
midday, and went about barefoot. No one killed animals, no wood was
burned or made into things, and no nail was driven. No one is aloud to
move house, or begin any important enterprise. No one fishes. Eggs that
are laid on Good Friday were marked with a cross, and everybody ate at
least one of these eggs on Easter Sunday.
Israel has an Easter
celebration. Catholics and
Protestants celebrate Easter at the same time as the rest of the world,
were as Orthodox Christian churches celebrate it two weeks later. At
Easter there are many processions where groups travel the route of Jesus
Christ's journey to Golgotha. The route is referred to as the Twelve
Stations of the Cross.
People or pilgrims
travel form all over the world to this holy event. At one o'clock in the
afternoon on Greek Easter Sunday the leader of the church goes into the
tomb of Jesus and the doors are closed after him. The lights go out,
bells ring and the leader appears with a blazing torch. The torch is
said to have been miraculously lit inside the tomb. Everyone in the
church lights their candles off the torch and these light up the whole
Italy, church bells ring
joyfully during the year. But the bells stop ringing on the Thursday
before Good Friday. They are silent for a few days while people remember
the death of Jesus. On Easter Sunday morning, the bells ring out,
telling people that Jesus is alive again. When people hear the bells,
they kiss and hug one another.
Many children wake
up on Easter Sunday and find eggs scattered about their rooms. They look
in the nests they have placed in their yards or gardens and find Easter
eggs in them. The eggs are said to have been bought from Rome where the
bell ringing had gone to see the Pope and when the bells returned they
bought with them the eggs.
Olive branches are
used on Palm Sunday instead of palm branches. Italians claim to have
been said to have been the first to invent chocolate Easter eggs.
Pretzels were originally an Easter food. The twisted shape is supposed
to represent arms crossed in prayer.
Lent is preceded by
a carnival with colorful pageants, masquerades, dancing, music and all
kinds of merrymaking. The Carnviale begins in January and lasts
until Ash Wednesday, but the ceremonies of the last three days are the
gayest, especially those of Martedi Grasso or Shrove Tuesday,
when pancakes are eaten.
An important part of
the carnival is the wearing of masks. People wear all types of masks
such as small black masks, which represent spirits and witches from the
One of the most
exciting features of the festival is ther death of the carnival. For
example in Venice the straw body of "King Carnival" is filled
with firecrackers and burned at midnight in the Piazza San Marco. The
carnival figure is usually represented as a fat man, this is a symbol of
the eating and drinking that takes place during this period.
or lent, on the other hand, is represented as a lean old woman. Children
are often been given the figure of an old woman with seven legs,
representing the seven weeks of Lent, and at Mezza Quaresima they
cut the figure in two, throwing half away and keeping the other half
until the end of Lent.
During Lent, women
often used to grow wheat in a dark place, so that the lack of sunlight
would make it a white color. This is then used to decorate the altar of
the local church during the days leading up to Easter. The white wheat
represented Christ's tomb.
Palme or Palm Sunday, people
take palm and olive branches to church to be blessed. When everyone is
in the church, the doors are closed to represent the gates of Jerusalem.
The priests knock three times, and the gates are then flung open in
welcome, and they enter amid joyous music and the waving of palms, this
is done to commemorate Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The
palms are often spread over fields for good luck or patching up quarrels
as an expression of peace.
or Holy Friday, many churches re-enact the ceremony of the washing of
the feet at the altar. They chose 12 poor men from the parish
representing the Twelve Disciples, and the priest, acting as Christ,
bathes their feet. Easter
or La Pasqua is a joyous day. After morning mass people return
home for the Easter dinner. The most important dish is agnellino,
roasted baby lamb. The table is decorated with colored eggs which have
been blessed by the priest. Lamb
is eaten with a special salad made with hard-boiled eggs on Easter
Church bells are
silent from Holy Thursday to Holy Saturday and matracas are often
used to announce the services. This period of mourning however ends on
Saturday morning, when the church bells ring out to announce the Mass of
Glory, which is a celebration for Christ's resurrection. Easter Sunday
is a very quiet day in most parts of Latin America, with no religious
ceremonies being performed.
Latvia they have colored eggs
and use them for games. Here they also played is the Egg-Knocking Game. They
eat a dish known as Paska,which is also eaten with a traditional bread
known as Kulich a sweet saffron bread.
Lebanon during lent the
children of the villages collect eggs which they color and then use for
egg-cracking games at Easter. Traditionally the eggs were dyed colors of
brown, green, yellow and red.
Easter preparation is the making of the maamoul. Maamoul are little cakes that are made with semolina and
covered with icing sugar and filled with walnuts or dates, they are made
during the last couple of weeks during Easter. Each member of each
family prepares a different part of the cake such as decorating the cake
tops, women preparing their own recipes for the dough, plus hundreds of
cakes, which are then laid out on trays or white sheets. The next day
after they have been prepared they are taken to the bakery to be cooked.
People go to church
on Palm Sunday wearing new clothes or if they cannot afford this at
least a new pair of shoes. A ceremony known as shanineh is held
at the church. This celebration is a procession in which the children
carrying candles are carried around the church on their parents'
shoulders. The candles are decorated with ribbons and flowers.
People fast during
Lent and on Good Friday nobody eats any meat or animal products.
During Lent every
Friday evening a special church service is performed which re-enacts of
the different stages of Christ's progress to Calvary. These services end
on Good Friday, when the statue of Christ is taken down from the altar,
placed in a coffin and taken around the church or even the surrounding
neighborhood. The statue is left in the coffin during Easter Saturday
and the church is in mourning until the Easter Mass held at midnight on
Saturday or on Sunday morning.
It is traditional
that on the afternoon of Easter Saturday people visit seven churches to
be blessed at each. Some people place their dough outside in a tree on
Saturday night, believing it will be blessed by Christ. On Sunday
evening they place small pieces of the dough in their other food
containers, so that these will also become blessed.
Everybody goes to
church at Easter, whether it is on Sunday morning or Saturday's Midnight
Mass as it is considered more important at this time then at
they only visit
people for a short time. Each household has the maamoul laid out
on a big plate with other delicacies such as chick peas covered with
sugar and sugared almonds, these also are offered to guests.
Malta Easter has been the
focus of great festivities, in the churches which have been beautifully
decorated, as well as the family observances. Malta once held a Carnival
celebration, which was held just before Lent. Nowadays the Carnival is
held after Easter in May to coincide with the May Day Labor festival.
The Maltese people
visit seven churches to pay their respects and offer devotion on Maundy
or Holy Thursday. These processions to churches are led by a person
carrying a cross. The Church bells are not rung from this day until
On Good Friday a
priest delivers a sermon based on the life of Christ including the first
Holy Week. The sermon has a choir singing appropriate hymns which are
intertwined between various pauses in the sermon. After the service a
procession of 8 statues, one of which depicts Christ on the Cross, is
lead through the church out around the parish and back to the church.
The procession is followed by a band playing funeral marches.
On Easter Saturday
all the church bells ring. People at about 11pm begin to gather at the
church to take part in the Easter Vigil. The priest intones the joyful
hymn "Exultet" - "Let us rejoice the Lord is risen".
People exchange greetings as each person carries a candle lit from the Paschal
This is a baked
confectionery pastry, cut in the shapes of Christian symbols. Nowadays
chocolate eggs or rabbits are also given to children.
Mexico, Easter is a
combination of Semana Santa or Holy Week which is Palm Sunday to Easter
Saturday and Pascua which is Resurrection Sunday until the following
celebrates the last days of the Christ's life. Pascua is the celebration
of the Christ's Resurrection. It is also the release from the sacrifices
In many communities,
they may enact a full Passion Play from the Last Supper, the Betrayal,
the Judgement, the Procession of the 12 Stations of the Cross, the
Crucifixion and last but not least the Resurrection. In some
communities, flagellation and/or real crucifixion might also be
included. The enactments are often spectacularly staged, costumed and
acted, with participants preparing for their roles for nearly the full
year leading up to Semana Santa.
Drums beat and
church bells ring slowly. People in the parade carry large statues of
Jesus and his mother, Mary. There are crowds of people watching the
procession go by. They sing sad songs. They sometimes carry candles to
brighten the darkness. Everyone is sad on this day, but in two days it
will be Easter Sunday, a time to be happy again.
the Netherlands the day before Lent begins is Carnival day which is referred to as Vastenavond
or Fast Eve. In South Holland the celebrations begin on the Sunday and
last for three days. Preparations begin the previous year on 11th day of
the 11th month, when a council of 11 meet to organize the plans.
Traditionally the number 11 is the number for fools, and during Carnival
people are allowed to be as foolish as they wish. At this time dances
are popular, parades and masquerade balls. In each town someone is
elected prince of the Carnival and he is handed the keys to the city.
On Palm Zondag
or Palm Sunday children go in processions from farm to farm collecting
eggs for the Easter sports. To find the eggs they carry a curiously
decorated stick known as a Palmpaas or Easter "palm".
This stick is attached to a hoop which is covered with boxwood and
adorned with colored paper flags, egg shells, sugar rings, oranges,
raisins, figs, chocolate eggs, small cakes and baked dough figures or
swans or cocks.
bread with raisins
and currants, is one of the special foods traditionally served at
Easter. In the east almost every village lights an Easter bonfire on
some hill or high point. People begin collecting wood for the fires
weeks in advance; each area tries to outdo each other by building the
biggest and best fire than its neighbors.
Easter Monday is a
day for egg games. The youngest children hunt for
|colored eggs which have been hidden
around the house or in the garden, while the older children have egg
cracking contests or as it is also known eiertikken contests.
Holiday is strongly rooted in Norwegians.
Officially it's holiday from Good Thursday until Easter Day. Most
Norwegians to go up to the mountains for the snow. It is believed that
the reason why do this is that the first Norwegian was the tribe's fool.
At the end of the last glacial epoch, he left the tribe and stumbled
after the retreating ice ending up in Norway. The conclusion is very
simple that he is still doing the same thing! When one, unbelievably,
has survived yet another cold, dark and freeze wintertime and the magic
of spring at last occurs then the Norwegians still go up to the
mountains hunting for snow and ice. In Norway everyone plays the game
known as the egg-knocking game.
Papua New Guinea the old beliefs have blended with Christian beliefs that had been
introduced in the last century, which now form unique traditions for
this part of the world.
the Trobriand Islands Good
Friday is regarded as the most important religious event in the year.
About mid-morning a large number of people gather for a service in the
settlement of Losuia. The youth from the surrounding villages present
musical and other items on an Easter theme at this service. After the
service is over the entire people divide into small groups of family and
friends for feasts in various homes.
On Easter Sunday
another church service is held, at this service there is the Easter
Tree. At the front of the church is a small tree or if they are unable
to have a tree several branches are tied together, on which sticks of
tobacco and packets of cigarettes are hung. After the service, these are
distributed amongst the congregation. The people then return to their
homes for a feast of leftovers usually from the Friday feast.
In the Philippines
street parades are held on Good Friday with people carrying large
crosses to re-enact Jesus’ walk to His crucifixion.
In Poland they celebrate Easter with the Blessing Basket. They prepare the basket the Saturday before Easter. Inside the basket they place beautifully colored eggs, bread, cake, salt, paper and
sausages and with the basket they then go to church to have the basket
of food blessed. It is believed that Great Lent which is
the forty day fast before Easter is not over until the basket has been
blessed hence the reason why it is called Blessing Basket.
All that is
contained in the basket is of meaning such as the colored eggs mean the
risen Christ, the bread and salt are for good health and a prosperous
life, the sausages are supposed to be a wish for enough food and
fertility for the coming spring. There is also cheese and marzipan which
are another part of the Easter basket.
Another tradition is
the tradition of Watering which is where everyone splashes
each other with water as this is considered to bring good health to all.
No one is safe from this tradition and for over 800 years Easter Monday
has been "Switching Day". On this day boys swat their
girlfriends with a small willow branch. On Easter Tuesday the girls get
even by swatting the boys. At Easter a cake like bread is eaten. It is
shaped like a peasant woman's full skirt and it is the custom to
decorate the eggs with rug yarn.
or Smingus Dyngus is celebrated in Poland on the first Monday
after Easter. On this day boys lie in wait to sprinkle girls with water
or perfume. It is said that girls who get caught and soaked with water
will marry within the year. This may be the very reason why some girls
make feeble attempts to escape the dousing.
This custom of
dousing may be of pagan origin since the pouring of water is an ancient
Spring symbol of cleansing and purification. Another theory is that this
represents the renewal of the sacrament of baptism after Christ has
risen. Also, according to legend, the Polish ruler, Prince Mieszko the
First was baptized in 966 on Easter Monday.
In Poland, the food
is set out ready all day long, so that everyone can eat just when they
feel like it. The table is decorated with green leaves and a sugar lamb
may be placed as a centre-piece. At the feast there is cold meats and
salads and plenty of eggs. Children take samples of food to church to be
blessed by the priest. The
kitchen table is covered with evergreen leaves and then Easter food is
put on it. Before anything is eaten it must blessed first by the priest.
Romania the Christian Church
says that Jesus was born during the winter solstice and his death
followed by his resurrection happened during the spring equinox, the
The most important
Christian holiday is the day of Jesus' Resurrection. Cleaning the
houses, wearing new clothes, the ritual bath before going to church, all
these are supposed to mark a new beginning. After a long fast - the
Lent, tables full with all sorts of good dishes and brightened up with
beautiful painted eggs create a festive atmosphere. Children are the
happiest of all looking for their gifts and colored eggs in the newly
the peasants, are beautifully dressed in their national costumes, with
lit candles in their hands, gathered together around the churches at
midnight in order to solemnly utter:” Jesus Christ has risen from
the dead". Everywhere around the churches, on the hills or in
the plains, people light fires and sing Our Savior’s praises.
After the service,
their is a multitude of flaring lit candles, a most uplifting and
touching sight, make for home where people clink Easter eggs with
beautifully dyed or exquisitely painted shells. The craftsmanship of
dyeing the eggs at Easter, is an ancient tradition with Romanians, is
due to the belief that eggs represent the source of life. The egg,
preserver of the mystery of the origin of life, has always been related
to the rites of the revival of nature. There is definitely a close link
between Easter, the egg and the vernal equinox as the three of them
cheese, cake, lamb roast and broth, drob which is a spiced minced lamb
and fresh cottage cheese.
Russia Christians go to church
late on Easter Saturday night. At midnight they go out and walk around
the outside of the church singing songs. The priest knocks on the door
and everyone goes in to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. The priest
blesses the people's food and they return home to have a happy feast. It
has been a custom to give friends and family brightly decorated eggs at
Easter time, exchanged with the happy saying, "Christ is
risen". Over a hundred years ago a jeweler called Faberge began
making beautiful Easter eggs out of gold, silver, diamonds and other
precious stones. Russians
eat lamb, chicken, pork, bread, and Easter cake. Easter Sunday is a
happy day of eating and visiting and pussy willow branches are picked
especially for Easter. People tap each other with them for good luck.
Scotland, Easter is a very
important day for the Church of Scotland. In many parts of Scotland huge
fires used to be lit on Easter Saturday, a tradition that dates back to
the pagan era when spring festivals were held at this time
To celebrate Easter
in Slavia, Slavic people decorate their eggs in special patterns of gold
and silver. In Slavic countries, baskets of food including eggs are
taken to church to be blessed on Holy Saturday before Easter Midnight
Mass. The eggs are then eaten for Easter breakfast.
South America festivals are held with a blend of Inca practices, customs of African
cults and native religions all mixed up with Christian beliefs.
Rio de Janeiro one of the world's most famous carnivals is held before Lent. Carnival
means goodbye to meat. This is due to the fact that people don't eat
meat at Lent.
Brazil groups of people spend
most of the year preparing for the carnival. They make costumes,
practice music and dances for the parades. Other people make floats for
the parade. It is a time for
dancing, eating and drinking before the fasting of Lent.
Peru Easter is the most
important time of the year. Easter is celebrated every day of the Holy
Week. Statues of Jesus are paraded through the streets. People dress in
their best clothes. Celebrations are outdoors with dancing, feasting and
drinking of Chicha, a beer made from corn. Sweets called Besitos,
a mixture of condensed milk and desiccated coconut, are sold on the
some parts of South America
there are parades held each day of the last week of lent. The parade
held on Good Friday is the saddest. The parade winds through the dark
streets early in the morning. Drums beat and church bells ring slowly.
People in the parade carry large statues of Jesus and his mother, Mary.
There are crowds of people watching the procession go by. They sing sad
songs. They sometimes carry candles to brighten the darkness. Everyone
is sad on this day, but in two days it will be Easter Sunday, a time to
be happy again.
Easter in Spain on Palm
Sunday, people go to mass in the morning. Children carry palm leaves to
be blessed by the priest. Boys carry a simple palm branch, and the girls
carry a branch that has been decorated. They often have sweets, tinsel
or other decorations hanging from them.
churches, Ash Wednesday is the first day of the penitential season of
Lent, so called this ceremony for it is the ceremony of placing ashes on
the forehead as a sign of penitence. In the Roman Catholic Church, ashes
obtained from burned palm branches of the previous Palm Sunday are
blessed before mass on Ash Wednesday. The priest places the blessed
ashes on the foreheads of the officiating priests, the clergy, and the
congregation, while reciting over each one the following: "Remember
that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return".
On Maundy Thursday
there is a special celebration in Verges (Gerona). A macabre dance is
performed by men dressed as skeletons.
In Spain, the saints
or pasos are carried through the streets by specially chosen
people, some of whom wear the traditional hooded costumes of the
you find yourself in Sweden
you will discover that Easter week starts with Palm Sunday, which
is commemorating Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem. This is a day
of joyous processions of people carrying branches of early budding
willows to lay before the images of Christ.
There are certain
superstitions attached to Easter. People believed that witches were
especially active and their black magic especially powerful during this
week. On Maundy Thursday they were thought to fly off on brooms
to consort with the devil at some place called blåkulla,
returning the following Saturday.
on Maundy Thursday or Easter Eve Swedish girls and boys
dress up as hags and pay visits to their neighbors. Some leave a small
decorated card, an "Easter letter", hoping for a sweet or coin
in return. The custom of making "Easter letters" is especially
widespread in western Sweden. This is where it is also the custom to
slip the letter into a person’s mailbox or under his door without
being seen. The identity of the sender is a secret.
Easter bonfires are also especially the custom in the western provinces,
where villages vie to see who can make the biggest one. The custom of
shooting also lives on, albeit in the form of shooting off fireworks.
Eggs are the most common Easter food, and hard boiled eggs are traditionally eaten the evening before Easter Sunday. While the eggs are often decorated, neither their decorations nor the traditions
associated with them
are as elaborate as in many countries on the continent.
On Good Friday
in Northern Sweden there was a custom which wasn't that pleasant for the
girls... Early in the morning the boys in the village gathered, equipped
with birch twigs. Then they went to every farm in the neighborhood and
whipped the girls with the branches until they gave the boys something
to drink, and that wasn't water... After some visits to the farm the
boys usually lost a bit of their judgment and sometimes it could be
rather unpleasant for the girls... On the other hand, the girls got
their revenge on the night between Easter day and Easter
Monday when they in turn gathered to give the boys some of their own
On the Wednesday
before Easter known as Dymmelsonsdagen it was common practice to
fasten some kind of object for obvious reason, something which would
make the bearer silly on the back of some poor unsuspecting victim. The
whole point was that the victim shouldn't notice the object and walk
around with it the whole day.
Ukrainians decorate eggs in a special way called Pysanky. They make beautiful designs with
beeswax on eggs. The
beeswax is melted and a special stylus or pen is dipped in the
wax. A wax design is painted onto the egg with the stylus. Then the egg
is dipped in the dye. The dyed egg is carefully held over a candle flame
and the wax melted off. Now, there is a beautiful white pattern on the
for the designs are
passed down from parents to children over the years.
pre-Easter period, the spring cleaning is done. The houses are plastered
and whitewashed; everything is taken out of the house and washed or
wiped; and all the rubbish is taken and burned outside the village.
Palm Sunday is
called Willow Sunday, and willow boughs are blessed in the church.
Holy Week is called
white or pure week. People try to finish all their work in the fields
before Thursday, because from then on work is forbidden. On the evening
of Holy Thursday, a special Passion service is held at the church, and
people leave with lighted candles. They try to get home without letting
the candle go out. This candle is kept until next year.
On Good Friday
nobody does any work. Until Easter Sunday the ringing of the church
bells is replaced by the beating of wooden clappers or the striking of a
mallet on a board.
On Easter Day known
as the Great Day, the church bells are rung at short intervals all day
to remind people that this is the greatest feast of the year.
Easter Sunday begins
with a church service where the Easter cakes and Easter eggs are blessed
by the clergy. Butter, lard, cheese, roast suckling pigs, sausage,
smoked meat, and little napkins with poppy seeds, millet, salt, pepper
and horseradish wrapped in them are also blessed. After the service,
people exchange Easter greetings and eggs, and then they hurry home with
their "holy food".
Uruguay the week before Lent
comes in autumn and coincides with Native Week or as it is known Semana
Criolla. The festivities centre around the guacho shows.
The largest and most
elaborate of the shows is held in Prado in Montevideo. Most businesses
are closed for the whole week, although the official carnival is held on
the two days before Ash Wednesday. Everywhere is decorated and many
people visit the streets. People in masquerade parade around the
streets, singing and dancing, as well flower battles are held.
are invited and a feature of Easter used to be the preaching services
held in the chapels. There would be another on the Saturday night, and
then three on Easter Sunday itself. The town of Ffestiniog used
to hold another three services on Easter Monday as well. People would
flock to these services at which ministers from other towns and villages
would be asked as guest preachers. These preachers would take these
events of the first Holy Week to use in sermons.
Easter eggs bear the XV for Christos vakrese or "Christ is
risen", which is a traditional Easter greeting. In Yugoslavia like other European countries a traditional meal
of Sunky or similar is had, as well as boiled smoked ham served
with hard-boiled eggs, fresh horseradish and white bread. It
is also a custom to have a basket of 5 dyed eggs at the table. This
represents Christ’s wounds.
As I said, because
America is a melting pot of many cultures, Easter in the US is
celebrated in many different ways by many different religions. Mostly it
is celebrated with traditional church services and family festive
celebrations. On Easter Sunday in New York and other cities, large
street parades are held where people show off their new clothes and
Easter bonnets. The parade is often led by someone carrying a candle or
American children play a game called Easter Egg Roll. This is where a
group of people roll eggs down a steep incline, racing to see
which egg gets to the bottom first. Since the eggs are pretty much the
same, and the hill is pretty much the same, the determining factor seems
to be the speed of release, making this a game that favors hyperactive
kids with fast reflexes. The rules of an Easter Egg Roll are to see who
can roll an egg the greatest distance or can make the roll without
breaking it, usually down a grassy hillside or slope and maybe the most
famous egg rolling takes place on the White House Lawn. Hundreds of
children come with baskets filled with brightly decorated eggs and roll
them down the famous lawn, hoping the President of the United States is
watching the fun. In America, we also enjoy a game called the Easter egg
hunt. The parents hide the
eggs indoors or outdoors, and the children get a basket and see how many
they can find and put into their basket.
|The world's most famous Mardi Gras carnival is held each year in New Orleans. It has parades, jazz bands and parties where everybody dresses up and joins in the fun. Groups of people called krewes prepare decorated floats with a Mardi Gras king and queen. Mardi Gras means 'Fat Tuesday' and only refers to Shrove Tuesday. The day after Mardi Gras is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.||
Easter is a time to eat special foods. In US it is baked ham, potatoes
and vegetables and Easter Hot Cross Buns are served as well.
Hot-cross buns are traditional to many English-speaking countries
and they originated in Britain. You
will find a recipe for Hot-Cross Buns below.
of us enjoy big family Easter dinners. It seems that ham is the
traditional American mainstay of most of our Easter meals.
We embellish it with our family heritage food, regardless of
whatever it may be and it will usually be a family, festive occasion.
of the more ambitious of us cooks go as far to make our own chocolate
The Ingredients you will need
to make these are:
1 large egg
1. Use the needle to make a fairly big hole in the top of the egg. Shake out the yolk and white into a bowl to cook later.
2. Melt the chocolate in a
small pan set in a larger pan of boiling water. Pour the melted
chocolate into the jug.
3. When the emptied egg has
dried out, support it in an egg cup and pour the melted chocolate
through the hole.
4. Leave the egg in a cool
place to harden, then break open the shell.
5. You can decorate the chocolate egg with sugar lowers stuck on with more melted chocolate, or with swirls of white icing squeezed through an icing nozzle.
|Now as Easter has almost taken on the
proportions of Christmas with Easter presents and cookies, here is an
Easter cookie recipe you might enjoy.
Recipes - Easter Cookies
1 cup butter or margarine
1. Cream the butter and sugar.
Add the eggs and beat well.
2. Sift the dry ingredients and
add them to the creamed mixture.
3. Add the milk and the vanilla
and chill the dough for an hour.
4. Roll the dough out.
5. Dip a rabbit-shaped cookie
cutter into flour and cut the cookies.
6. Place them on a greased
baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.
Try making your own Chocolate Easter Bunny.
The Ingredients you will need
to make these are:
1. Roll a round lump of
marzipan for the body and stick on a smaller lump for the head.
2. Roll out two little
sausage-shaped pieces, flatten them for ears, and place them on the
head. Add a small round nose to the face and a little lump to the back
of the body to make a tail.
3. Use the confectionary beads
for the eyes.
Easter Cookies which are tender and buttery)
The Ingredients you will need
to make these are:
Make dough from
semolina, samneh and boiling water and knead well.
Cover tightly and
On second day:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Knead dough again
and form into small balls. Hollow out centers of balls. Mix together
sugar, nuts and flavorings. Fill hollows with mixture.
Press dough back
over the filling. Press each cookie onto a buttered baking pan and
flatten and decorate with the tines of a fork. Bake in preheated 350° F
oven until lightly browned. Dust liberally with powdered sugar while
Yield varies with
Hot Cross Buns
The Ingredients you
will need to make this are:
1 1/2 cups milk
60 grams butter
1 egg, beaten
5 cups plain flour
1. Mix all dry
ingredients with half the flour in a large bowl.
2. Heat butter, milk
and beaten egg until lukewarm.
3. Add liquids to
dry mixture and beat 2 minutes.
4. Stir in remainder
of flour until soft.
5. Knead on slightly
6. Cover dough in
bowl with cloth and let rise for 30-40 minutes.
7. Punch dough down
and divide into 24 buns and place on greased tray and allow to rise
8. Bake in moderate
oven for 20 minutes.
9. Put on wire rack
10. Mix a little
milk with 1/2 cup icing sugar, then brush on buns to make crosses.
you celebrate Easter, whether it be a day of quiet reflection or in the
church of your choice, or a gala event with your friends and family,
I bid you all a Happy
Easter, not only in my language, but in any language! Catalan:-
Felices Pasques, Chinese:- Fu huo jie kuai le, Croatian:- Sretan Uskrs,
Danish:- Glædelig Påske ,Dutch:- Gelukkig Paasfest, French:- Joyeuses
Pâques, German:- Frohe Ostern, Hungarian:- Boldog Husveti Ünnepeket, Italian:- Buona Pasqua, Lithuanian:- Linksmu Velyku, Modern Greek:-
Kalo Pascha, Norwegian:- God påske, Polish:- Wesolych swiat,
Portuguese:- Boa Pascoa, Russian:- Schtsjastlivyje Paschi, Serbian:-
Hristos voskrese, Spanish:- Felices Pascuas, Swedish:- Glad Påsk,
Turkish:- Mutlo (eller Hos) Paskalya, Yiddish:- A fraylekhn Pesah
“Tread the Earth
Lightly” and in the
meantime… may your day be filled with….Peace, light and love,
I grant “ONE-TIME” publishing rights
), free lance writer, award winning artist and avid gardener is
mother of 5 and the grandmother of 8.
For almost 40 years she was an International real estate
consultant and during the last 20 years of her career traveled to many
parts of the world. She
has been a cancer and stroke survivor since 1992.
While working and raising her children she had many hobbies
including being a very serious home-vintner for approximately 14 years
while residing in upstate New York in St. Lawrence County producing
2,000 to 3,000 bottles of wine a year.
She was the president of the St. Lawrence County chapter of the
American Wine Society in Potsdam
"Tread the Earth Lightly" & in the meantime
may your day be filled with...
Peace, Light, and Love,
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