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Traditions and Customs of Easter

aster family traditions

Easter Day is celebrated on a Sunday always, but unlike Christmas, the date of Easter is not fixed. As per Bible records, the Christians decided that Easter Day would be on the Sunday that comes just after the first full moon after the first day of Spring, thus the date is generally on or around 21 March (varies in between 22 March to 25 April). Another interesting fact about Easter tradition is that its date varies according to countries, as the western churches in the UK, America and Australia follow the Gregorian calendar, while the Eastern churches follow the Julian calendar.

How Did Easter Get its Name?

Ages ago when Jesus was still not born, people in Europe worshipped the Goddess of Spring by the name 'Eostre'. They believed that the sun died in winter and Spring’s onset brings back sun as its rebirth. This belief was quite strong amongst the Europeans and since then the onset of Spring was celebrated and known as “Easter”.
Interesting traditions and customs of Easter are seen in varied colours all over the globe. The countries in Europe celebrate it with certain symbols, while the American people have their own. However, two common symbol of Easter that is seen in almost all Christian countries are Easter eggs and bunnies; let’s have a look and see what exactly these traditions signify -
Easter-Eggs
Easter-Eggs

Easter Eggs

The Easter eggs signify “new life”. Christians believe that Jesus, after being crucified on the cross, rose from the dead, this was a miracle that shows that life could had won over death. For Christians the egg happens to be the symbol of Jesus' resurrection. When the eggs are cracked open, the shells stand like the empty tomb. The records are not yet found since when eggs have been used to celebrate Easter, but this idea and practice was already there years ago when Jesus was born. Eggs always have a special significance as they do not seem alive, yet have life within them. Springtime is when the chicks hatch out, giving birth to new life. Initially, people gave gifts of eggs that were intricately carved from wood or precious stones. Since 100 years back, the first sweet eggs were eaten and they were made from sugar or marzipan, after few years, chocolate eggs have become popular and are shared and distributed on Easter Sunday.
Easter-Eggs
Easter-Eggs

Decorating Easter Egg Baskets

This is one of the favourite activities of children during the Easter. In some countries, the parents conduct games like Easter egg hunting; they tell their children that the Easter Hare or Bunny has hidden all the chocolate eggs somewhere in the home or garden and they have to race to find them round. In some countries, Easter egg decoration is a major task during this festivity. They colour and paint the hard-boiled eggs by using water colours and dyes. Stickets and other embellishments are also used recently.
Easter-Images
Easter-Images

Egg Rolling

In United States and some other countries, egg rolling is a popular Easter game. For this game, the coloured eggs are used and the White House lawn is the best known site in America to watch this game. The kids and their parents push the eggs along and roll them through the grass with wooden spoons.
Easter-Images
Easter-Images

Easter Bunny

Easter bunnies or rabbits alike Easter eggs have been associated with springtime celebrations since ancient times. The history goes like this - the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of Spring, Eostre loved rabbits and had her all time companion as a hare. Hare symbolises fertility and rebirth; however later the Christians changed the symbol of the hare to cute little Easter bunnies. The traditional story that explains the presence of Easter bunnies is that the bunny leaves Easter eggs on Easter Sunday and the parents hide them somewhere in and around the house; while the kids run around and get engaged in the egg hunting game. This idea of an egg-laying rabbit was conceived by the Americans during the 1700's when the German immigrants entered the country. Their children made the 'nests' with their caps and bonnets, and believed that if they could make a beautiful nest, the Easter bunnies would come secretly and leave behind the best Easter eggs for them.
Easter-Bunny
Easter-Bunny

North America and the Caribbean Easter Traditions

Egg tapping or egg knocking is the oldest prevalent game in Louisiana, USA and it dates back to the 1950s. Competitors gather on the steps of the courthouse on Easter Sunday starts knocking the tips of two eggs at a time, if the shell of your egg cracks you have to surrender it, this game continues until only one egg is left. In the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda, they grow and export Easter Lilies. They also fly kites to symbolize Christ's rise. Apart from Easter eggs and hot cross buns, fish cakes are the food traditional in Bermuda during Easter.

Easter Customs in Czech Republic

You might be surprised to know that in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the Easter tradition is to spank and whip women! This custom is carried out on Easter Monday. During the morning hours, the men hit women with a special handmade whip, known as the pomlázka (in Czech) or korbáč (in Slovak). In regions like Czechoslovakia Moravia, they also splash cold water on them. The spanking act is definitely painful, but the men do not intend to cause suffering. The legendary explanation of this custom is that the women are hipped in order to keep their beauty, health, and fertility during the whole next year. These spanked women then offer a colored egg (okra slice) made by them and invite their men to eat and drink as a thankful gesture to the man. In Poland, a similar tradition existed called Dyngus Day, but now it has become more of a water fight all day long.

History of Easter

Commemorating the Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, Easter happens to be Christianity’s most important holiday. Easter does not fall on any fixed date of the calendar every year and thus often called the “moveable feast”. The Christian churches in the West celebrate this festivity on the first Sunday just after the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21. Thus, approximately Easter falls anywhere in between March 22 and April 25 in the calendar year.
Julian calendar is followed by the Orthodox Christians, and Easter occurs a week or two after the Western churches celebrate Easter following the Gregorian calendar.
What is the Origin of the Word Easter?
The accurate origins of this Christian’s feast day naming are unknown. Some say that the word Easter is derived from Eostre, a Teutonic goddess for spring on earth and fertility. There are other documents that trace Easter from Latin origin; the term “Hebdomada Alba” or “White Week” is associated to the idea of Easter. It celebrates the Easter week as the people wearing white clothing and getting baptized during that time. However, experts say that it was a translation error and later the corrected version came as “Esostarum” in Old High German, which was again reconstructed as Easter in English.
Spanish people call Easter as Pascua, while in France it is called Paques. The derivations of these words are from Greek origin and Latin Pascha or Pasch that actually means Passover. When Jesus was taken to Jerusalem after his crucifixion and resurrection, Passover was observes, which is a Jewish festival commemorating the earliest Israelites’ mass departure from slavery in Egypt. Eventually, Pascha was known as Easter.

easter bunny images

Happy-Easter-Images-2017
Happy-Easter-Images-2017

The Fusion of Christian and Pagan Traditions -


Easter is closely connected to Christian faith and follows some practices of the early pagan religions. Easter history and the rituals and traditions that are practiced today originally comes from pagan symbols, and talks about the stories of ancient Goddess Ishtar to Easter bunny and Easter eggs. Easter is nothing but the rebirth of Christ that is commemorated around the vernal equinox; this is the time of pagan celebration coinciding with the onset of spring. Easter celebrations symbolize the lightening era and the beginning of life.

“Easter” Comes from Ostara, Goddess of Spring and the Dawn -


Easter is the name of a Saxon goddess, who is also known by other names like Oestre or Eastre, and in Germany she is called Ostara. Goddess of the dawn and the spring, Ostara term comes from “dawn” or the luminous light making the eastern sky bright. Ostara is also the fertility Goddess and the "female hormone" estrogen is associated to the name. She marks the end to chilling winter and brings days brighter and longer after the vernal equinox. Thus, symbolically Easter also indicates passion for new life.
The presence of Ostara’s blessings is found in the flowering of plants and the birth of babies, both animal and human. The rabbit is symbolically associated with prosperity and is the sacred animal, thereby having relevance as “Easter bunnies”. Easter eggs are again the symbol of fertility, and are commonly seen during the spring festivals of Ostara. During Easter, one prime decoration aspect is the brightly coloured eggs. Chicks, and bunnies are also used to indicate Ostara's blessings for abundance.
Happy-Easter-Images
Happy-Easter-Images

History of Easter Hams and Easter Candy -


During Easter, since ancient years meat is consumed and the form is ham. Some scholars say that ham is offered during Easter because it is a "Christian" meat, however other religious sects restrict that, including those of Judaism and Islam). Hams during Easter was seen as early practices of the pagans of Northern Europe. The history of having hams during Easter goes this way – The meats of the agricultural animals were slaughtered during the Blood Moon celebrations, then they were preserved so that they would have enough food during winter months. On the onset of spring, they would celebrate the occasion by consuming the last of the remaining meats.

Historical Significance of the Easter Fasting


The men in historical years anticipated spring time as the arrival of new plants and fresh foods. Most of the pagans began fasting at the time of the vernal equinox, which was a process to clear out the “poisons" (and excess weight) from the body due to the heavier winter meals that culminated in their bodies. Some scholars however say that the purpose of this fasting was to create a sought-after state of "altered consciousness" during the spring festivals. This fasting practice could also have been a forerunner of "giving up" foods while the Lenten season.

History of Easter

Commemorating the Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, Easter happens to be Christianity’s most important holiday. Easter does not fall on any fixed date of the calendar every year and thus often called the “moveable feast”. The Christian churches in the West celebrate this festivity on the first Sunday just after the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21. Thus, approximately Easter falls anywhere in between March 22 and April 25 in the calendar year.
Julian calendar is followed by the Orthodox Christians, and Easter occurs a week or two after the Western churches celebrate Easter following the Gregorian calendar.

What is the Origin of the Word Easter?


The accurate origins of this Christian’s feast day naming are unknown. Some say that the word Easter is derived from Eostre, a Teutonic goddess for spring on earth and fertility. There are other documents that trace Easter from Latin origin; the term “Hebdomada Alba” or “White Week” is associated to the idea of Easter. It celebrates the Easter week as the people wearing white clothing and getting baptized during that time. However, experts say that it was a translation error and later the corrected version came as “Esostarum” in Old High German, which was again re-constructed as Easter in English.
Spanish people call Easter as Pascua, while in France it is called Paques. The derivations of these words are from Greek origin and Latin Pascha or Pasch that actually means Passover. When Jesus was taken to Jerusalem after his crucifixion and resurrection, Passover was observes, which is a Jewish festival commemorating the earliest Israelites’ mass departure from slavery in Egypt. Eventually, Pascha was known as Easter.

The Fusion of Christian and Pagan Traditions -


Easter is closely connected to Christian faith and follows some practices of the early pagan religions. Easter history and the rituals and traditions that are practiced today originally comes from pagan symbols, and talks about the stories of ancient Goddess Ishtar to Easter bunny and Easter eggs. Easter is nothing but the rebirth of Christ that is commemorated around the vernal equinox; this is the time of pagan celebration coinciding with the onset of spring. Easter celebrations symbolize the lightening era and the beginning of life.
Happy-Easter-Images
Happy-Easter-Images

“Easter” Comes from Ostara, Goddess of Spring and the Dawn -


Easter is the name of a Saxon goddess, who is also known by other names like Oestre or Eastre, and in Germany she is called Ostara. Goddess of the dawn and the spring, Ostara term comes from “dawn” or the luminous light making the eastern sky bright. Ostara is also the fertility Goddess and the "female hormone" estrogen is associated to the name. She marks the end to chilling winter and brings days brighter and longer after the vernal equinox. Thus, symbolically Easter also indicates passion for new life.
The presence of Ostara’s blessings is found in the flowering of plants and the birth of babies, both animal and human. The rabbit is symbolically associated with prosperity and is the sacred animal, thereby having relevance as “Easter bunnies”. Easter eggs are again the symbol of fertility, and are commonly seen during the spring festivals of Ostara. During Easter, one prime decoration aspect is the brightly coloured eggs. Chicks, and bunnies are also used to indicate Ostara's blessings for abundance.

History of Easter Hams and Easter Candy -


During Easter, since ancient years meat is consumed and the form is ham. Some scholars say that ham is offered during Easter because it is a "Christian" meat, however other religious sects restrict that, including those of Judaism and Islam). Hams during Easter was seen as early practices of the pagans of Northern Europe. The history of having hams during Easter goes this way – The meats of the agricultural animals were slaughtered during the Blood Moon celebrations, then they were preserved so that they would have enough food during winter months. On the onset of spring, they would celebrate the occasion by consuming the last of the remaining meats.

Historical Significance of the Easter Fasting


The men in historical years anticipated spring time as the arrival of new plants and fresh foods. Most of the pagans began fasting at the time of the vernal equinox, which was a process to clear out the “poisons" (and excess weight) from the body due to the heavier winter meals that culminated in their bodies. Some scholars however say that the purpose of this fasting was to create a sought-after state of "altered consciousness" during the spring festivals. This fasting practice could also have been a forerunner of "giving up" foods while the Lenten season.

real easter bunny

Image result for happy easter 2017 hd images
Happy-Easter-2017-Images

The Feast and Debate on Easter Date


By the second century the Feast of Easter was well established. However, there was a dispute over the exact date for observing Easter between the Eastern and Western Churches. The East group preferred having it on a weekday because the early Christians observed the service of Passover on the 14th of Nisan every month following the lunar calendar. While the West group wanted that Easter should be celebrated on a Sunday regardless of the date.
To sort out this issue, the Emperor Constantine called the Council of Nicaea in 325 and there the council decided that Easter should fall on Sunday just after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. The Alexandrians were known for their brilliance in calculating astronomical calculations, and they decided that March 21 would be the perfect date for spring equinox.
Even today, the date of Easter follows this rule, and the Easter feast is held between March 21 and April 25. Some churches in the East celebrate Easter following the date of the Passover festival. The preparation for celebrating Easter starts from Ash Wednesday, which marks the period of repentance in the Lent. The Holy Week and Lent end on the Easter Sunday, on which Christ’s resurrection took place.

Origins of Easter

Easter, as is celebrated in the northern hemisphere by adults and children alike, is often considered to be Jesus’ reincarnation day. That is why it is celebrated as the birth of happiness, freedom, and life. Going deep in history there are different origins from where Easter has seemingly arisen. Even though there are various viewpoints as regards the origin of Easter, historians and scholars believe that Easter is originally a pagan festival. Two primary beliefs confirmed by Biblical scholars, as to the rise of celebration of Easter have been discussed below:

As a Symbol of Reincarnation


The origin goes back to the period when the biblical Flood or the Devine Judgment was sent on mankind to perish the evil that had become all-encompassing. However Noah and his family were preserved as God wanted to give a second chance to mankind. Noah’s Great Grandson, Nimrod was a very talented yet an evil person. He gradually became very powerful and rebelled against God. Some say his wife, Easter/Ishtar, after the death of Nimrod, gave birth to Tammuz who was hailed as the savior. Both mother and son were continued to be worshiped as the Gods of sun and moon.
A different source says that Ishtar or Inanna was the wife of Tammuz and as Tammuz died she followed him to the Underworld, utterly grief stricken and devastated. On reaching the Underworld she was humiliated, judged, killed and hung on display. In the absence of Tammuz and Inanna, the world lost its fertility, life stopped reproducing and crops ceased to grow. Inanna’s assistant went to other Gods for help and then one of them called Enki decided to resurrect Tammuz and Inanna. After resurrection of the couple, life sprang back to its original form and the cycle of death and life began to continue. Easter tale of crucifixion and resurgence is symbolic of revival and rebirth and it determines the cycle of seasons, life and death.
Often the resurrection of Inanna/Ishatar/ Ostara/ Easter as she is known in different civilization is being held as an adaptation of Christ’s resurrection which is being observed on Easter celebration.

As a Celebration of Goddess of Spring


Another perspective says that Easter, a word of Saxon origin, marks the beginning of spring and is celebrated in honor of Eostre, the Goddess of Spring. She is otherwise known as Ostara, Austra and Easter. She is hailed as the goddess of renewal by both the ancient and the modern generations. She is also depicted with hare, an animal that signifies onset of spring and fertility of the season; hence the concept of Easter bunny.
Easter marks the day when light is equal to darkness and will grow in power with every passing day. Eostre is not only the harbinger of light and renewal; she is also a power that brings joy, prosperity and fertility. That is why Easter is often celebrated as the day when resurrection of Jesus Christ took place as both the incidents mark a new beginning and regeneration of life.
Happy-Easter-Images
Happy-Easter-Images

Real easter bunny

Over the years, the Christian festival moved in date slightly from the Jewish Passover, so they don't now have the same date, but sometimes they are very close! The Christian date for Easter also follows the moon, so it also changes every year. To make things even more complicated, Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter, like Christmas, on a different day to Catholic and Western Christians!

For Christians, the full Easter period lasted for a long time. Easter officially starts with Lent on Ash Wednesday, 46 days before Easter Day. (Lent lasts for 40 days but you don't count the Sundays!) Then 39 days after Easter Day, Christians celebrate Ascension Day, when they remember Jesus going back into Heaven and promising to come back to earth one day. Easter officially ends 49 days after Easter Day with the Christian Festival of Pentecost or Whitsun, when Christians remember that God sent his Holy Spirit to help Christians. So Easter is a very busy time for Christians!

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