Easter and Easter traditions!
Easter is the time of Christian year when Christians remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They believe Jesus died for everyone’s wrong-doings and then came back to life three days later.
No one is 100% sure where the English word Easter came from! In a lot of other European languages, the word for Easter comes from a variation on the word ‘Passover’.
The Passover festival dates from about 4000 years ago when Jewish people remember that God saved them from slavery in Egypt. The first Jewish Christians added Easter celebrations to the Passover festival and because of Jesus coming back from the dead on Sunday, Easter Day became the first Sunday after Passover.
For Christians, the full Easter period lasts a very long time, officially starting 46 days before Easter Day and finishes 49 days after.
But what about the Easter traditions we can see and hear about? All the chocolate eggs in the shops, bunnies, and chickens everywhere?
Let’s have a look on few of the traditions you might not know about and few you have definitely acknowledged or doing!
The Nutter’s dance
The men of Bacup have been blacking up, pulling on skirts and strapping bells to their legs since 1857. This odd parade is led by a whip-wielding man called the “Whiffler” or “Whipper-In” and takes place every Easter Saturday. Its purpose is to drive out evil spirits – and the blackface is meant to protect the dancers from demons.
Egg rolling, Lancashire
Every April 1st, Preston Council holds its annual Easter egg rolling race, where you roll your egg from the top of a local hill to see whose reaches the bottom first. The eggs rarely survive the journey intact, but – you know what they say – nothing tastes as victory feels.
Maypole festivals are one of the most obvious artefacts from our pagan heritage. At Easter and midsummer, dancers celebrate spring, new life and the turning of the seasons by wrapping a wreathed pole in long ribbons.
In the UK, many children build and decorate colourful paper bonnets at school before Easter, then join a local parade through their town or village on Easter Monday to show them off. New clothes at Easter are traditionally considered to be good luck.
Easter egg hunt
On Easter Day, when the children wake up they do an Easter egg hunt. Looking for little chocolate eggs which bunny left behind. They are hidden all over the house or garden. That’s why you can see all the chocolate eggs out there!
What about the traditions of different countries? Some might find them odd, but as it is, different countries, different traditions.
In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, men and boys spend Easter Monday terrorising their female friends and relatives by chasing them around and whipping them.
The playful swatting, using willow sticks decorated with colourful ribbons, dates back to pagan times and supposedly chases away illness and evil spirits to bless the women with health and beauty for the coming year.
They like smashing things, the Greeks.
Not content with breaking plates into smithereens, in Corfu, they also throw clay pots from their windows and balconies on Holy Saturday.
The noisy spectacle – said to cast out evil – is watched by thousands of tourists each year.
Some of these traditions are definitely a bit different than the English ones, but definitely fun!
Let us know what are your traditions for Easter! There are definitely plenty!