Gift Ideas For Easter
Buy Online Easter Eggs Greetings Cards and Learn The Traditions of Easter Eggs:
Celebrate Easter with Chocolate Easter Eggs
Easter eggs are special eggs that are often given to celebrate Easter or springtime.
Therefore, Easter eggs are common during the season of Eastertide. The oldest tradition is to use dyed and painted chicken eggs, but a modern custom is to substitute these with chocolate eggs, or plastic eggs filled with confectionery.
Easter is a Christian religious holiday. Some Easter traditions, such as Easter eggs are linked to pagan traditions. The egg is an ancient symbol of new life. It has been associated with pagan festivals celebrating spring.
Easter eggs and The Resurrection of Jesus
From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to represent the emergence of Jesus from the tomb and the resurrection.
Easter falls in the spring, the yearly time of renewal, when the earth renews itself after a long, cold winter. The word Easter comes to us from the Norsemen's Eostur, Eastar, Ostara, and Ostar, and the pagan Goddess Eostre, all of which involve the season of the growing Sun and New Birth.
The meaning of the many different customs observed during Easter Sunday has been buried with time. Their origins lie in both pre-Christian religions and Christianity. In one way or another all the customs are a salute to spring marking re-birth.
Today on Easter Sunday, many children wake up to find that the Easter Bunny has left them baskets of Chocolate Easter eggs and he has also hidden the eggs that they decorated earlier that week.
Children hunt for the eggs all around the house. Neighbourhoods, friends and family hold Easter egg hunts, and the child who finds the most eggs wins a prize.
The Easter Bunny
The Easter Bunny Legend
The first Easter Bunny legend was documented in the 1500s. By 1680, the first story about a rabbit laying eggs and hiding them in a garden was published. These legends were brought to the United States in the 1700s, when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country, according to the Centre for Children's Literature and Culture.
The tradition of making nests for the rabbit to lay its eggs in soon followed. Eventually, nests became decorated baskets and colourful eggs were swapped for candy, treats and other small gifts.
The White House Easter Egg Hunt
The History of the Easter Bunny
The Easter Bunny is sometimes depicted with clothes. In legend, the creature carries coloured eggs in his basket, candy and sometimes also toys to the homes of children, and as such shows similarities to Santa Claus, as they both bring gifts to children on the night before their respective holiday.
The custom was first mentioned in Georg Franck von Franckenau's De ovis paschalibus(About Easter Eggs) in 1682, referring to a German tradition of an Easter Hare bringing Easter Eggs for the children. In many church services on Easter Sunday, a live rabbit representing the Easter Bunny is brought into the congregation, especially for the children's message.
Easter Greetings Cards
The tradition of sending Easter postcards to relatives and friends developed during the end of the 19th century. During the year 1898, there were only a few cards sent although the number of cards sent since then have increased worldwide.
In the beginning monochrome as well as coloured cards were printed. Most of the time, the centre of the cards contained an oversized egg. During the first years during which Easter postcards were sent, the front side was empty. This was the space for senders to write their greetings because post offices would only allow the address and the stamp on the back side. Because of that, the artistically precious illustrations were deformed.
In 1905, post offices in Austria and Germany separated the back side of the cards into two halves. The right half served as before (for the address and the stamp) and the other half was the new space for the message. In 1906 this was officially allowed by the world-post-congress in Rome
Chocolate Easter Eggs
The 17th and 18th centuries saw the manufacture of egg-shaped toys, which were given to children at Easter. The Victorians had cardboard, plush and satin covered eggs filled with Easter gifts and chocolates. The ultimate egg-shaped Easter gifts must have been the fabulous jewelled creations of Carl Fabergé made during the 19th century for the Russian Czar and Czarina, now precious museum pieces.
Chocolate Easter eggs were first made in Europe in the early 19th century, with France and Germany taking the lead in this new artistic confectionery. Some early eggs were solid, as the technique for mass-producing moulded chocolate had not been devised. The production of the first hollow chocolate eggs must have been painstaking, as the moulds were lined with paste chocolate one at a time.
Easter Songs for Children
The giving of Easter Eggs is a tradition going back hundreds of years marking the end of Lent which for many chocolate lovers is a welcome relief. So what better way to celebrate Easter than sending your loved ones at home or abroad a Chocolate Easter egg?
Easter Sunday is a happy day for Christians because they believe that Jesus rose from the dead on this day. They believe that Jesus' resurrection shows that death is not the end of everything. Many go to church to thank God for Jesus' life. Church bells are rung and churches are decorated with flowers such as white lilies which are associated with Easter. The colours in the church change to white or gold which are thought to be the best colours.
Easter Traditions in Ireland Past and Present
Past And Present Easter Traditions In Ireland
One of the most important religious dates in the Irish calendar, apart from St Patrick’s Day, is Easter as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. In Ireland preparation for Easter starts on the first day of Lent, forty days before Easter Sunday.
From the first day of Lent Irish people would stop eating meat but would also give up for the forty days of Lent something they enjoy, such as going to the pub for a pint, or a glass of wine, giving up their favourite food, usually cakes or biscuits or both, crisps, cigarettes, anything that the individual feels that they would consider a ‘sacrifice’.
The 40 days of Lent
40 Days of Lent
During the forty days of Lent meat would not be eaten on a Friday. In its place fish would be eaten. It is a time of self discipline and reflection, but also a time for Irish families to spend some quality time together and give the gift of Easter eggs and chocolates. Most people give up chocolate for Lent so an Easter egg and chocolates is a lovely treat.
The last week of Lent is the most important part of the fasting period with Palm Sunday being a week before Holy week which sees the coming of Easter and the resurrection of Our lord, Jesus Christ.
Many families would prepare their homes for Easter Sunday by doing what would be better known as, spring cleaning, to prepare the house for blessing by the local priest which is a religious ceremony that dates back hundreds of years.
Sermon on The Mount
No outdoor work should take place on Good Friday in Ireland and should be treated as a day of rest and preparation of body and soul for Easter. Most public houses and restaurants will close on Good Friday and reopen Easter Saturday.
On Good Friday people would attend confessions asking for forgiveness for their sins. They would then treat themselves to new clothes and shoes in preparation for Easter Sunday mass.
Eggs would ‘not’ be eaten during the time of Lent and would be presented to the Irish household on Good Friday, but not eaten until Easter Sunday. These eggs would be hard boiled and then painted with different colours and designs. These have been replaced with chocolate Easter eggs for the children, with over five million being purchased each year in Ireland.
Holy Saturday Traditions in Ireland
Holy Saturday would be a day that Irish people take a vow of silence but also attend a special ceremony to have their Holy water blessed but would also attend the Easter Vigil which usually starts at 10pm with the Church decorated in purple colour banners to celebrate the arrival of the King.
All lights in the Church are extinguished at 11pm with a new flame being presented to the altar of the church which is a Paschal candle, a symbol of the Risen Christ and the celebrations of the Holy Flame.
Easter Sunday in many homes is very similar to any other Sunday or religious day in Ireland. Families get together dressed in their new clothes and would attend mass together in their local church.
After attending mass on Easter Sunday everyone would make their way back home to start the Easter feast which is usually made up of Roast Beef, chicken, lamb, potatoes and vegetables, gravy and followed by a Homemade Easter cake, usually decorated with yellow chickens and chocolate flakes.
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© 2011 Christine