It is that time of the year again when we remember the death of Jesus Christ and celebrate His resurrection. Over the years, a number of Easter customs have become commonplace. These customs cut across continents and cultures. Where these customs originated from is not as well known as the practices themselves. Read on to find out how the Easter bunny, the Easter egg and the Easter hunt came about, as well as customs practiced in other parts of the world.
The name Easter was derived from the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, Eostre. Since ancient times, the hare has been associated with spring. The Easter hare was looked at as a symbol of rebirth, especially after winter. Since a hare and a rabbit bear a close resemblance, the symbol was changed to Easter bunny. Whenever Easter came around, the Easter bunny fills Easter baskets with Easter eggs and chocolate.
A common Easter custom is arranging egg hunts for children. During the week before Easter, kids would paint eggs. These Easter eggs would then be hidden by the Easter bunny in the home or in the yard for children to find. The child who finds the most eggs wins the game and gets a prize.
Another Easter custom is egg rolling. This game involves pushing Easter eggs along through the grass using spoons. The winner of this game is the one whose egg stayed the longest without cracking. This game is popular, especially in the U.S. Since 1880. With the exception of times of war, children have been invited to the White House by the First Lady to take part in the Egg Roll. The Egg Roll takes place up until today. The only people invited are children below the age of twelve. Parents can only come if they are accompanying their kids
The Easter sunrise service is another widely practiced custom. After the service, some parts of the country hold parades. The most well known is the parade held on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Some churches and schools put on Passion plays, to retell the Easter story.
In Europe, on the eve of Easter, huge bonfires are lit in churchyards and on hilltops. Churches and homes are decorated with Easter lilies. Easter parades are held in Europe as well; they only differ in that someone holding a cross or Easter candle would lead the parade. On Easter Sunday, Easter bells would be rung to announce the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Eastern Europe, Sunday is a day of feasting and many families take their food to be blessed in church. In Africa, some countries hold night time Easter services and Easter egg hunts, and the peal of church bells announce that Jesus is alive.
Recorded history of the events leading to Jesus crucifiction hardly exists and most of what we know was written down from stories told over time. Jesus is an intriguing figure of high influence over the history in the modern era. Carl Michaelis, author of “…and it was as if he walked on water”, was inspired by the mystery surrounding Jesus. Through his knowledge of both Christianity and the way of life in the land of Israel, Carl Michaelis was able to create an inspiring historical fiction about people touched and influenced by Jesus and the events of his time.
To find out more, check this page about the story of Jesus of Nazareth
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