IT’S EASTER! HERE ARE SOME TRADITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH EASTER...
Just like Christmas, many traditions have sprung up around the celebration of Easter. While we, in this part of the world, may not be used to some of these traditions, one or two may still be familiar to us, particularly due to the efforts of shopping malls...
Easter Bunnies, Rabbits and Lambs
Bunnies, Rabbits and Lambs are often associated with Easter because most babies of the animals are born in Spring around Easter time. In Pagan times, Rabbits and Hares were signs of Good Luck and New Life. The Early Christians took over the meaning of New Life because it helped them remember Jesus being raised from the dead and having New Life. The Lamb is a symbol of Jesus in the Bible as He was called 'the Lamb of God'. This is because Lambs were and are still used in the Jewish faith as a sacrifice for people's sins and wrong doings. Christians believe that Jesus was killed and sacrificed for everyone.
Eggs & Chicks are often associated with Easter because, in Pagan times, they were signs of Fertility and New Life. The Early Christians took over the meaning of New Life because it helped them remember the Resurrection and having New Life through Jesus. Eggs were used by the ancient Persians and Egyptians to celebrate New Year, which happened for them in spring time. The eggs were colored and eaten during the celebrations. In Europe, colored eggs were used to celebrate Easter as house decorations. In Eastern European countries, such as Hungary and Romania, wooden eggs are beautifully painted in lots of different patterns. The patterns often have special names and meanings and help to tell the Easter Story. In Russia, during the early years of the 20th century, the former Royal rulers Czar Alexander III and Czar Nicholas II had some very special Easter Eggs made for them by the jeweller Carl Fabergé.
The first egg was a gift from Alexander III to his wife, was made of gold and white enamel. Inside the egg was a golden yolk containing a golden hen with ruby eyes. Inside the hen was a tiny golden crown. It was so beautiful that the Czar (meaning King) said that every Easter, Fabergé should make the Czarina (or Queen) a special egg. The design of the egg was left up to Fabergé, but each egg had to have a surprise in it. One amazing egg celebrated the opening of the Trans-Siberian railway. It was made of solid silver, with a map of the train route on it. The stations were marked with precious Jewels, and inside was a gold clockwork train! Fabergé made eggs for other members of the Russian royal family, and occasionally for the Czar to present to other monarchs. They are very precious, and are kept in royal collections and museums.
In some countries, egg hunts take place over Easter. Eggs are hidden around a house or garden and children have to find them. Sometimes they are told that the eggs were hidden by the Easter Hare or Bunny.
Egg rolling races are held all over the world on Easter Monday. Eggs are rolled down a hill or slope and the first one to reach the bottom that hasn't broken is the winner. There is also an egg-knocking game is played in lots of countries including France, Germany, Norway and Syria. The game is played with hard boiled ones and is a bit like the game of 'conkers'. The object of the game is to hit everyone else's egg and to keep your own one unbroken. The last player with a whole egg is declared the winner.
Chocolate Eggs have replaced wooden ones now and are certainly a lot nicer to eat!
Unusual Easter Traditions Around the World Buenos Aires, Argentina
For a hefty dose of Easter kitsch, you could do worse than head to Buenos Aires, in Argentina, and pay a visit to Tierra Santa, better known as the Jesus theme park (above). A 12-metre fiberglass Messiah is resurrected atop a plastic mountain every 60 minutes and staff kitted out in full costume (even the toilet cleaners are dressed up, as Roman soldiers) act out the Creation, Noah’s Ark and the Last Supper.
Easter is the biggest festival of the Greek Orthodox Church and on the holiday island of Corfu the strangest event takes place at noon on Saturday. As soon as the church bells toll, Corfiots hurl giant water-filled earthenware pots from balconies to much cheering from those gathered (at an unsafe distance) below.
Papua New Guinea
In Papua New Guinea, where tropical heat, humidity and a patchy supply of electricity hamper the custom of exchanging chocolate eggs, resourceful locals have come up with a cunning workaround. Trees outside houses of worship are decorated with cigarettes and packets of tobacco, which are handed out to the congregation after the service. The practice may not fully capture the meaning of Easter but it has a positive effect on church attendances.
During Easter, citizens of Bermuda are busy flying their kites. The story goes that a teacher, who was looking for a visually effective way to demonstrate the ascension of Christ into heaven, made a kite and deco-rated it with an image of Jesus. Bermudans embraced the concept to such an extent that many now spend days designing colorful tissue-paper kites in preparation.