Most popular traditions explained

28 Mar, 2021 - 00:03 0 Views
Most popular traditions explained

The Sunday Mail

EVER wonder where the Easter Bunny tradition came from, or what the word Easter even means?

Brush up on the origin stories of common Easter traditions before this year’s holiday.

Easter is a deeply religious holiday for Christians.

The holiday celebrates the day Jesus arose from the dead, three days after the Crucifixion.

Like many other religious holidays, Christmas for example, Easter has also become a highly commercial event often catered toward young children, full of chocolate rabbits, decorated Easter baskets, and colourfully dyed eggs.

And, of course, there is the Easter Bunny, dropping off baskets of gifts and treats in the middle of the night to delight children everywhere on Easter Sunday morning.

But how did all these Easter traditions — from candy chicks, chocolate bunnies, and dyed eggs to the Sunday celebration and festive meal of Easter lamb – become such a large part of the celebration?

When is Easter this year?

Easter falls on Sunday, April 4, 2021.

Last year is was on Sunday, April 12.

The holiday is a “movable feast”, meaning the date, which is always a Sunday, changes every year and follows a similar calendar to the Hebrew calendar based on the lunar cycle.

Where do Easter traditions come from?

According to folklore, Eostre found a bird dying from the cold and turned it into a rabbit so its fur would keep it warm — but that rabbit still laid eggs like a bird. “In one version (of the story), the bunny paints and decorates the eggs as a gift to Eostre to show his loyalty and love,” says Brandi Auset, the author of “The Goddess Guide”. It is possible this story is the reason for the Easter Bunny tradition and why bunnies and birds in general — and chicks.

Dyeing Easter eggs

Beyond making for pretty Easter decor and being a fun activity to do with kids, dyeing Easter eggs may have a deeper religious connection as well. One tradition regarding Easter eggs is related to Mary Magdalene, the first person to see Jesus after the Resurrection.

As the story goes, she was holding a plain egg in the presence of an emperor and proclaiming the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The emperor said Jesus’ rising from the dead was as likely as that egg turning red — and the egg turned bright red while he was still speaking.

In addition, for the 40 days leading up to Easter, known as Lent, Christians begin preparing for the holiday by praying, meditating and making personal sacrifices.

Easter egg hunts

It is very likely that children play an important role in the origin of the fun side of Easter. In particular, annual Easter egg hunts, whether at home, with friends and neighbours, at local parks, or churches, are one of the most fun Easter traditions for kids to participate in.

“For Christians, this is a serious holy day, dealing with issues of life and death,” says Robin Knowles Wallace, the author of The “Christian Year: A Guide for Worship and Preaching”.

“Because of the difficulty of sharing these big issues in age-appropriate ways, sometimes we divert to the more light-hearted symbols of eggs and rabbits, hence the proliferation of Easter egg hunts at churches.”


Where does all the chocolate come from?

“The tradition of chocolate eggs began in 19th-century France and Germany and soon spread to the rest of Europe and eventually the rest of the world,” says Katherine Tegen, the author of “The Story of the Easter Bunny”.

“To receive the special Easter eggs, children were told to make nests from hats or baskets so the Easter Bunny could leave them there.” Killinger says that many Christians are also eager to eat chocolate on Easter because it is a common modern-day sacrifice during Lent.

Eating Lamb

Another typical Easter food is lamb. “Lamb is traditional because Jesus’s last supper was the Passover meal,” says Karen Jean Matsko Hood, the author of “Easter Delights Cookbook”. —


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