Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Easter is a special event celebrated by Christians. It is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ. Easter is celebrated in many countries all over the world, however not all traditions are the same.
America and Canada
In America and Canada, Easter is pretty much celebrated the same. Decorated eggs are hunted for or exchanged as well as other gifts they may include money and chocolates. Easter baskets and bonnets are made and decorated, then entered into contests.
The Easter bunny is very popular in both countries. Stores line their shelves with stuffed bunnies to give as gifts as well as chocolate, decorations and gifts for the Easter holiday.
In Germany, Eater is called Ostern. Besides Christmas, Easter is the most important holiday in Germany. Spring cleaning is done in the household, decorations are brought in and hung up. Small Easter trees are brought int o the home as well and decorated with eggs.
Parents hide Easter baskets with small presents, sweets and eggs. Hand decorated eggs are exchanged among family and friends. A great meal is had, where many people eat fish and light big Easter bonfires.
In Mexico, Easter is actually two big events combined, Semana Santa (Palm Sunday to Easter Saturday, or Holy Week) and Pascua (Resurrection Sunday until the following Saturday).
Many Mexicans use these two weeks as a time for vacation, while other prefer to stay for the events. Many communities stage the full Passion play including the Last Supper, the Betrayal, the Judgment, the Procession of the 12 Stations of the Cross, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.
In Romania, Easter is the most important celebration. Men and women each have their own tasks to complete. The men mend fences, bring in water, take out the garbage and butcher the lambs. Women clean the house, do laundry and decorate the eggs. A few weeks before Eater, the young women and girls sew new shirts for the men, parents and children.
A special Easter cake called "Pasca" is baked, the lamb is cooked and special decorated eggs are exchanged. Lit candles are held during mass and only put out once the one holding it returned home. It is said that if one sleeps on Easter day, they will be sleepy all year long.
In Ireland, a competition would be held to see who could eat the most duck eggs. Dancers in beautiful outfits dance in the streets and compete for a cake prize. Easter is a time of fasting and prayer. At church on Easter Saturday, hundreds of little candles are lit off of the blessed Paschal candle. Priests sprinkle holy water on each member of the household, then the house and cattle.
Eggs that had been decorated and painted with faces are rolled down a hill. A quiet traditional meal of lent soup and roasted Spring lamb is eaten on Easter Sunday. On Easter Monday, many fairs are held and many use this day to go on a day trip.
In Russia, Easter is celebrated on a different Sunday, than it is in the West. In the West, the Gregorian calendar is used as well as in many places of the East, but the Julian calendar is still used and at present, is 13 days behind the Gregorian calender. Normally Easter in the East, is one week later than the West, however this year is one of the few, rare times that they will fall on the same Sunday.
Children dye eggs red, symbolizing the blood of Christ. The eggs are cracked open using nails and the whites are exposed. People are reminded of the death of Christ and that the blood of Christ, cleanses them from sin.
Worship at the church begins Saturday evening. At midnight, the priests throw open the doors and shout out "Christ has risen"! The congregation then comes to life shouting back, "He is risen indeed"! After worship and Easter celebrations, the family Easter dinner takes place. It is a huge picnic, where everyone in the congregation brings food to share. Here everyone is reminded that all members of the body of Christ belong to one another.