As you might have noticed the trend with many holidays that we celebrate, they are not simply a day specific to a certain time and for a specific group of people. They are shared days that have merged more than one feast that is why they are celebrated worldwide.
When we look at my articles – “Why do We Celebrate Christmas” and “Valentine’s Day 2021″ we saw many references to ancient Christianity, the classical time, Greek mythology, and Anglo-Saxon cultures, and pagan feasts.
The same might be noticed when coming to the Easter Celebration. Easter can be seen as a Christian holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Many other traditions may say that Easter celebrations or similar celebrations date back to pre-Christian times, pagan times.
Let’s first look and Easter as a Christian Celebration.
The Word Easter is also known as Pascha in Greek, Aramaic, and Latin. This is the Sunday that Christ was resurrected from the dead, according to the Christian Faith. After His crucifixion that happened Three days before which is observed on Good Friday. Christ’s crucifixion was a culmination of his work on earth. When he died it is believed that He remover darkness and brought light to everyone who believes in Him.
It was however decided around 325AD at the First Major Council of Church (the Council of Nicaea) that the day of resurrection would be observed on the Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. Hence the date for Easter is not fixed.
The time that precedes Easter is the time of Lent. Christians celebrate lent by depriving themselves of things they love and see this as a form of fasting. The idea is that Christ went into the wilderness for forty days and nights to be tempted by the devil, during this time he fasted. To Horner Christ’s death and resurrection, Christians will choose something they like/love and abstain from indulging in it for the time of lent. At the end of lent when Christ is resurrected Christians would celebrate by enjoying what they had stopped taking part in to break the fast.
Easter the Anglo-Saxon origin.
It is believed that The Anglo-Saxon Goddess of New life “Eostre” brought in the renewal that came with the first days of spring. Her name Eostre has linguistic suggestions that lead to thinking of Eos-tre which led to the naming of Easter.
My first Easter experience was out of this world.
Coming from a Christian family I only knew Easter in terms of holy week. I was not aware of the festive side that is celebrated at the end of this week. I was much older I had my first experience of eating Easter eggs.
Colour TV had just been introduced and seeing colorful Easter eggs on TV made me want to just get some for myself and my siblings. I attempted closest to make those eggs, I boiled some eggs from the fridge and tried to paint them with my color pens. As you might guess, that was not a great idea. I then realized that these eggs are actually made of chocolate. The challenge was now, how to get chocolate into my hard-boiled eggs.
Eventually, our parents caught on and started buying some colorful foil-wrapped chocolate eggs. These were still not good enough for me as I still wanted hard shell-painted eggs. They were not real Easter eggs from Easter Island. Not that I knew what Easter Island was. I just felt the hard shell would make the eggs to be more Authentic.
I was not that far from how eggs became this Symbol.
Painted hard-boiled eggs were consumed on Easter Sunday traditionally in some Eastern European countries. Eggs were seen as a symbol of new life and as Christ finds new life on Easter Sunday, the community celebrated by eating these colorfully painted hardboiled eggs.
In medieval Europe, egg consumption was prohibited, and in England, it was common practice for children to collect eggs from door to door on the Saturday before Lent. The eggs were given to children before the fast. It is believed that the tradition was then carried over to Easter Sunday as a symbol of breaking the fast.
Many symbols but one Easter.
Wikipedia depicts the Easter Bunny in German Folklore as a bunny that used to Dress up and carry a basket filled with colorfully painted Eggs and gifts/ toys for well-behaving children. These would be left in nests that the children would make out of their caps and hats. This reminds me of Santa during Christmas, leaving gifts in stockings hung by the fireplace.
The tradition of boiled was carried over and eggs would be boiled with flowers which would give eggs a bright color for spring. Some Orthodox Churches would dye their eggs with red dye, symbolizing the blood of Christ that had to be spilled for the salvation of mankind.
Christianity has many symbolic elements that sometimes have duality, for instance, the egg that symbolized life, later on, became a symbol of the emptiness of Christ’s tomb. At the dawn of the 19th century, we saw the coming of new culinary technology that introduces the manipulation of chocolate. French and German Chocolatiers created Easter eggs out of Chocolate. The technology took time to be refined and initially the eggs were of a solid form. As Chocolate science evolved the eggs became hollow as Chocolate molds were used, at first, the thin chocolate layer was hand-painted in molds and then glued together. You can imagine how tedious that must have been.
The eggs would be covered with colorful foil paper to have a colorful egg effect. The symbolic significance changed, as the eggs were hallowed. The Easter egg still celebrated the resurrection through an empty egg now referring to the empty tomb (hollowed egg empty tomb).
If Hares Could not Lay Eggs.
The folklore of the hare has spread throughout the world and boiled eggs were replaced by chocolate. The Easter bunny has also involved in a chocolate ornament for Easter.
Now children around the world celebrate Easter in style searching for Chocolate and candy goodies around their gardens. Whether this celebration is Pagan, Christian, Anglo-Saxon, or German. It makes no big difference. As long as there is some chocolate, egg, or bunny, Easter is one of the most intriguing times of the year.
Family time Easter egg hunt picnic in the back yard.
For Non-Christians, Our general Society, Christians, and many other Cultures, Easter has a magical pull that brings everyone together. One thing I have learned is that all countries, Cultures, and traditions love a good celebration. I have seen with many celebrations, that they overlap and each culture and family tailors their celebrations to their own needs.
I was invited by a friend to Celebrate Easter Sunday with them. We would usually spend the day at home, but after the morning mass, we drove to our friend’s home and were welcomed with a feast of pancake and chocolate source. This was very much similar to how we would celebrate in our home. Something that we were all acquainted with. The children all went outside to start searching for eggs.
While the children were kept Buzzi with the easter hunt, the Adults had time for some Vodka and Lime, this was not part of our usual Easter celebration, but it was quite a spectacle as the drinks were quite delectable.
The children had fun at our friend’s place and seeing my kids searching and finding eggs was truly inspiring. That is when we also stated Easter egg Hunts in our home. Should we have not visited we would not be enjoying these fun Easter activities?
It is truly a time of celebration.
I had a very morbid childhood, and all my easter celebrations were nothing special. Christ’s death was very heartbreaking and celebrating the resurrection was unrealistic for me. So I had never seen the reason to be joyful on Easter. I became very spiritual and was always involved in Church matters, it took a while to really celebrate Ester with understanding.
At 17 years I was invited to visit a monastery in the South of France. in a village called Taize. The brothers of Taize lived in monasticism and Simplicity and I got to experience the life of Christ or rather the true life of Christianity. Three-time a day we would go to prayer and that does not include the time that I would take individually to pray in the Orthodox Churches in the Village.
On Thursday during holy week, the Brothers had prayer around a Cross and the preyer would refer to the Crucifixion and it is quite intense. Everyone was invited to pray around the crucifix and the connection with Christ’s death is deep. The celebration culminates into a joyous celebration of Easter Sunday.
Imagine a Young South African in Europe, in a monastery, filled willed with youth from around the world coming out of easter mass. Sharing hugs and Easter eggs with all the Nations of the world. I felt God’s presence, the resurrection of Christ meant something on that Easter Sunday, for me. The joy in Everyone’s voices, European, American, Asian, African, Canadian, Australian, and the whole world.
Easter celebration has never been less true to me since that day.
Whatever the reason you may or may not celebrate the time of giving the Gifts of New life, The Gift of Chocolate moldings the gift of Resurrection. Whether it is a Pagan, Christian, or German feast, Easter has evolved into a true time to celebrate New life. Whether it is because of The goddess of Spring “Eostre” or of the “Osterhase” – Easter Bunny or For The Resurrection of Christ. A Gift of life is a blessing to all.
Spring is the time of revival. A breath of life into the plants that have been dormant for the winter season. All the good children get gratification for being good and soals find redemption in the blood of Christ. That is a reason enough for me and my family to celebrate. Give a Gift of Sweets and Candy to your household as we rejoice.