What Are Your Easter Traditions?
The Easter Egg
I've searched the Internet to find out when the use of Easter eggs became a symbol of the ressurrection of Jesus but have not found anything to date. I did find out though that people long before the time of Jesus gave eggs carved from wood or precious stones as gifts during spring festival of the Saxon Goddess of the Dawn, Oestre. Nevertheless the Easter egg has become a symbol in the Christian festival representing the resurrection with the cracked egg symbolizing the empty tomb.
However, in modern times the Easter Egg has become a commercial symbol for Easter where people buy chocolate eggs as gifts for loved ones; parents for their children as a sweet treat and for playing games with the obligatory Easter egg treasure hunt. I remember drawing elaborate maps with clues as to where the eggs were hidden in the nooks and crannies of our home. My children are grown now but they always talk about the fun they had searching for the eggs and wishing they found the biggest egg with the surprise treats inside. Fond memories.
The Easter Bunny
Once again long before the time of Jesus the rabbit was a symbol of Spring and the Anglo Saxon Goddess Eostre was represented by the hare a animal that symbolised fertility and rebirth following the winter.
It was the Christians that changed the pagan symbol to the Easter bunny.
The tradition of the Easter bunny varies depending on what country you are in. In America the tradition is that the Easter Bunny leaves Easter egg baskets full of chocolate and candy; they also hide eggs in the garden for children to go egg hunting and sometimes children would put carrots out for the bunny. This custom was brought to American by immigrants from Germany in the 1700s.
Caribbean Easter Traditions
Bun & Cheese
Around about Wednesday and Thursday many women are either baking loaves of buns or you will find them bustling around the West Indian grocery store to buy their spiced bun. This is eaten on Good Friday with cheese.
The tradition began back in saxon times when the hot cross bun was eaten in honour of Goddess. The cross is meant to symbolise the four quarters of the moon.
The Caribbean spiced bun is different to the tradition hot cross buns or fruit loaf. It is denser in texture and has a richer taste which is full of flavor, probably from the spices and fortified wine that is used.
This is a tradition I love because the spiced bun and chee is so yummy!
Caribbean Easter Tradition
Fish - Ackee & Saltfish
Following the tradition of only eating fish on Good Friday because that was the day that Jesus died we do not eat any animal flesh.
The majority of Caribbean islands cook some form of fish on Good Friday usually fried fish, but Jamaicans in particular will cook ackee and saltfish a fruit peculiar to Jamaica, which was brought to the island from West Africa back in the days of slavery.
The salt fish is salted cod which is boiled and flaked and seasoned with scotch bonnet peppers, tomatoes, onion and spices such as black pepper and pimento. When the salt fish is cooked you add the ackee, and serve with fried plaintains and hard dough dumplings. It's so nice you will 'lick orf you finger!"
Fortune Telling Easter Eggs
Unlike America and Britain we do not have easter egg hunts on the beach! Instead the tradition is to tell the future through the reading egg whites. Yes I know, wierd. But on Holy Thursday an egg is cracked and the white is placed in a container of water until Good Friday when it should have coagulated a pattern which is used to predict the future. On the islands they say the pattern should either resemble a coffin or a ship predicting your demise or that travel is on the cards. I would defintely pray for the picture to be one of a ship, wouldn't you?
Washing of Feet
This is a tradition which was practised back in ancient times. During those times the traditoinal footwear was sandals and upon journeying they became dirty and dusty. Therefore, when a traveler at the end of his journey lodged at an inn or at a friend's home the host would offer the guest a bowl of water to wash his feet.
There are many references to the washing of feet in the bible (John 13:14-17) and on Maundy Thursday many churches have a service where members of the congregation wash each others feet as a sign of humility. They will also take holy communion to commemorate the last supper of Jesus.
Christian Easter Traditions
Shrove Tuesday which means being forgiven for one's sins or wrong doing, and also known as pancake day, is the beginning of Lent. It became known as pancake day in modern times because eggs were forbidden during Lent, so instead of letting them go to waste they would be used in making pancakes.
In the past this day was set aside revelry and feasting and people would go to church to confess their wrong doing to the priest and would be 'shriven' or forgiven before sacrificing something in penance.
Is the first day of Lent. Ashes are the residue of something that has be burned and Christians use it as a symbol to represent repentance and remorse for the wrong or bad things they have done. Once again an act where they seek forgiveness. Another custom is during the Ash Wednesday service the priest makes a shape in the form of a cross from the ashes on peoples' forehead of people's
Lent is the period of time that Christians review their lives and prepare for Easter. It is commemorated because Jesus spent 40 days and nights without food alone in the desert while ie communed with God.
Color: Purple = linked to royalty and the coming of the King, Jesus Christ.
Mothering Sunday is a tradition held in America where children give gifts to their mothers to say thank you for looking after them, their hard work and of course to say 'I love you'. There is also a special church service for this occasion.
In the UK we have Mother's Day but it not connected to the American celebration.
This is the day that Jesus died, nailed to the cross by Roman soldiers under the Order of Pontius Pilate. Although it is a sad day because of the death of Jesus it is also a liberating day to the Christians because they believe he died to save them.
There is a tradition in Jersusalem where people follow the path Jesus took to his death. In other places in the world people reinact the story of Jesus' final day and you will see crowds marching through the streets with one person carrying a wooden cross.
Is a day of celebration because Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead. This day is the evidence that death is not the end. It is also a time when people go to church to give thanks for Jesus' life and what he did for them.
Colors: White and Gold = Royalty and purity.
What are Your Easter Traditions
Whether your celebrate Easter from a Christian or non-Christian perspective are any of the traditions above familiar to you or do you keep up different traditions. It would be nice to hear about how you celebrate Easter.