Easter ()


Easter ()

Plan.

I. The moral lessons given us by Jesus.

II. When is an Easter?

III. Eastertide.

IV. Easter egg and Easter hare.

V. Thoughts from Ireland.

VI. Easter in England.

VII. Easter in Ukraine and Russia

I. The moral lessons given us by Jesus.

Celebrating Easter, seeing the happy faces of people around, hearing

the joyful announcements Christ is risen, and, on the whole, enjoining

these God-blessed sunny spring days, let us pause for a moment and ponder

on some of the moral lessons given us by Jesus.

We well know that Christianity is ethical through and through, but

strange as it may seem, the moral teaching of Christ himself is not very

circumstantial. On the contrary, He appears rather terse on these matters,

and it is in His deeds, not words, that the larger part of His mission

found its expression. As a person, with all His inclinations and

intentions, He does not seem to be a determined moral reformer, not to

speak of a revolutionary; and he was not in the least a scholar or a man of

letters. He wrote nothing. He mowed quietly and slowly along the highways

and among the villages of Galilee and Judea and spoke to people not about

any intricate problems of human existence, or theology, or the mysteries of

life and death, but about things which belonged to the realm of daily life;

and the words he chose for that were the words of common men, not those of

a professor of ethics.

He summed up His theology in an amazingly short and simple phrase

God is love; and meeting people He very often did not teach them, as He

actually did from time to time, but offered them a ready sympathy and

understanding, even to the degraded and the outcast. To them He spoke in

the language of tolerance and benevolence, forgiveness and mercy. That was

His love and that was the beginning of the moral revolution that

transformed the world.

II. When is a Easter?

The greatest Christian festival of the year is Easter. It is either in

March or in April, and millions of people joyously observe Christs

resurrection. This holy day never comes before March 22 or after April 25.

When is an Easter? That, of course, is celebrated on the first Sunday

after the paschal moon, which is the first full moon that occurs on or next

after the vernal equinox, March, 21st. So all you need to do is look at the

sky? Afraid not. For the moon in question is not the real moon, but a

hypothetical moon. This one goes round the earth one month in 29 days, the

next in 30 days, though with certain modifications to make the date of both

the real and fictional full moons coincide as nearly as possible. It yields

a date for Easter that can be as early as March 22nd and as late as April

25th. Today, Easters variability suits antiquarians, and the makers of

pocket diaries, many of which devote a Full page to the calculation of

Easter in perpetuity. But, nearly 1,700 years on, it does not suit those in

(mostly European) countries such as Britain and Germany where both Good

Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays. Early Easters are too cold to

enjoy. Late Easters are jammed up against the May Day public holiday.

III. Eastertide.

Passion Sunday or Care Sunday two Sundays before Easter, is still

known as Carling Sunday in parts of the north of England. Carlings are

small dried peas, which are soaked in water overnight and then fried in an

almost dry pan when they start to burst they are ready. Greengrocers sell

them, pubs serve them, and people eat them at home in a basin with a small

piece of butter and plenty of pepper and salt. There seems to be no good

reason, apart from the strength of the tradition, why they are eaten on

this day.

Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter; for people near Marlborough

in Wiltshire it meant following a long-established custom in which willow

hazel sprays representing palm were carried up Martinsell Hill.

Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter: the royal maundy

describes the gift which for the last five hundred ears or so has been

given out by the sovereign on Maundy Thursday to as many men and woman as

there are years in his or her age. Once it was clothing which was given

out, now it is a sum of money; on odd numbered years the ceremony usually

takes place at Westminster Abbey, in even numbered ones at a church or

cathedral elsewhere in the country though 1989 seems to have been an

exception, for the distribution took place at Birmingham Cathedral in honor

of the centenary of the citys incorporation.

On Good Friday, the day of the crucifixion, hot cross buns are always

eaten as a sign of remembrance, and in some bakers shops and supermarkets

they are on sale for many weeks before. It is a nationwide tradition,

though hot cross buns were unknown in some places Bath, for example

until the twentieth century. The buns may in fact pre date Christianity,

since bread consecrated to the Roman gods was marked with lines

intersecting at right angels.

People celebrate the holiday according to the beliefs and their

religious denominations. Christians commemorate Good Friday as the day that

Jesus Christ died and Easter Sunday as the day that He was resurrected.

Protestant settlers brought the custom of a sunrise service, a religious

gathering at dawn, to the United States.

Today on Easter Sunday, children wake up to find that the Easter Bunny

has left them baskets of candy. He has also hidden the eggs that they

decorated earlier that week. Children hunt for the eggs all around the

house. Neighborhoods and organizations hold Easter egg hunts, and the child

who finds the most eggs wins a prize.

In England, children rolled eggs down hills on Easter morning, a game

which has been connected to the rolling away of the rock from Jesus

Christs tomb when He was resurrected. British settlers brought this custom

to the New World.

One unusual Easter Sunday tradition can be seen at Radley, near

Oxford, where parishioners clip or embrace their church they join hands

and make a human chain round it. It is Easter Monday, however, which sees a

veritable wealth of traditional celebrations throughout the country: to

name bat a few, there is morris dancing in many tows, including a big

display at Thaxted in Essex; orange rolling, perhaps a descendant of egg

roiling, which takes place on Dunstable Downs in Bedfordshire; and for

perhaps eight hundred years or more there has been a distribution of food

at the Kent village of Biddenden, ten miles from Ashford.

Then there is Leicestershires famous hare pie scramble and bottle

kicking which also takes place on Easter Monday; and another custom kept up

in many parts of England and Wales and called lifting or heaving was

taken by some to symbolize Christs resurrection. On Easter Monday the men

lifted any woman they could find, and the women reciprocated the following

day; the person was taken by the four limbs and lifted three times to

shoulder height. When objections were made that this was a rude, indecent

and dangerous diversion a chair bedecked with ribbons and flowers was used

instead it was lifted with its victim, turned three times, and put down.

The Easter parade.

The origin of this very picturesque traditional occasion, known

affectionately as Easter Parade and starting at 3 oclock in the afternoon

of Easter Sunday, is not as remote, or mysterious, as many of the

traditions and customs of England; there is no religious, or superstitious

significance attached to it whatsoever.

In 1858 Queen Victoria gave it the ultimate cachet of respectability

and class by paying it a state visit in the spring. For the occasion she

wore, of course, a new spring bonnet and gown. This set the fashion for a

display each spring of the newest fashions in millinery and gowns, and from

then onwards that traditions has expanded; every society lady vied with her

rivals to appear in something more spectacular than anything that had seen

before.

IV. Easter egg and Easter hare.

An egg has a symbolical meaning in many centuries. Its well known

that eggs had a special significance even in the times of ancient Romans.

Eggs were their first disk during meals (ab ovo) and they were also in

the center of competition as a memory of Zeuss sons, who hatched from

eggs. Such competition took place in France, Germany, and Switzerland. Eggs

was a sign of hope, life fertility even in the early epoch. In

Christianity, the Lords gift, which has begun in Jesus Christ. Eggs

spreading as the Easter symbols turned to be possible because they sewed as

an original rent or as a tax. The Easter was one of the days when this pay

could be accomplished.

Excavations witness that traditions of paintings on eggs have been

existing for 5000 years and have their regional peculiarities. Especially

in Slavonic countries eggs are decorated with many colored pictures of

Christian motives. As expensive souvenirs it was a habit to give eggs made

of noble metals, marble, was and wood.

The Easter hare, which, children believe, brings the Easter eggs, may

be understood as a transformed Easter lamb. In those places, where there

was no sheepbreeding, a hare substituted for a sheep in the Raster meal.

Due to its ability not to sleep the hare become a symbol of resurrection of

Jesus Christ.

Easter Eggs.

Wherever Easter is celebrated, there Easter eggs are usually to be

found. In their modern form, they are frequently artificial, mere

imitations of the real thing, made of chocolate or marzipan or sugar, or of

two pieces of coloured and decorated cardboard fitted together to make an

eggs-shaped case containing some small gift. These are the Easter eggs of

commerce, which now appear in shop-windows almost as soon as, and sometimes

even before, Ash Wednesday is past, and by so doing lose much of their

original festival significance.

This is a real egg, hard-boiled, died in bright colours, and sometimes

elaborately decorated. In still appears upon countless breakfast-tables on

Eater Day, or is hidden about the house and garden for the children to

find. In some European countries, including England, the Easter Hare is

said to bring the Easter eggs, and to conceal them in odd corners of the

gardens, stables, or outbuildings.

Because eggs are obvious symbols of continuing life and resurrection,

the pagan peoples of ancient China, Egypt, Greece, and Persia used them,

centuries before tile first Easter Day, at the great Spring Festivals, when

the revival of all things in Nature was celebrated.

Colouring and decorating the festival eggs seems to have been

customary since time immemorial. And old Polish legend says that Our Lady

herself painted eggs red, blue, and green to amuse the Infant Jesus, and

that since then all good polish mothers have done the same at Easter. A

Romanian tale says that the vivid red shade, which is a favorite almost

everywhere, represents the blood of Christ.

There are many ways of tinting and decorated the eggs, some simple and

some requiring a high degree of skill. They can be dipped into a prepared

dye or, more usually boiled in it, or they may be boiled inside a covering

of onion-peel. Ordinary commercial dyes are often used today for coloring,

but originally only natural ones, obtained from flowers, leaves, mosses,

bark, wood-chips, or other sources, were employed. In England, gorse-

blossom was commonly used for yellow, cochineal for scarlet, and logwood-

chips for a rich purple.

In Switzerland, minute flowers and leaves are sometimes laid on the

egg underneath the onion-peel to make a white flower-pattern on the yellow

or brown surface.

The decoration of Easter eggs is a traditional peasant art in Eastern

and Central Europe. Favorite designs vary in different regions. In Hungary,

red flower-patterns on a white ground are often seen; sometimes the

decorated eggs are fitted with tiny metal shoes, with minute spurs

attached, and curious little metal hangers. In Yugoslavia, the letters XV

usually form part of the design. They stand for Christos Vaskrese, meaning

Christ is risen, which is the traditional Easter greeting of Easter

Europe. Russian eggs are sometimes elaborately decorated with miniature

picture of the saints, or of Our Lord. Polish designs are often

geometrical, or abstract, or they may include Christian symbols, like the

Gross or Fish, mixed with pagan emblems of new life. Painted eggs of this

type, know as pisanki, always appear on the Easter Table.

In some East European countries, scarlet eggs, as symbols of

resurrection, are placed on, or buried in, the graves of the family dead.

The latter custom was known in northern England until about the middle of

last century. One or two of the most beautifully ornamented Pace-eggs the

name by which Easter eggs are still most commonly called in the northern

counties would be saved and kept in tall ale glasses in a corner

cupboard, or some other place where they could be easily seen. In Scotland,

Easter eggs are often called Peace or Paiss eggs. Pace and Paiss are

all corruptions of Pasch, or Paschal, of which the original root is the

Hebrew word pisach meaning Passover.

In parts of Germany during the early 1880s, Easter eggs substituted

for birth certificates. An egg was dyed a solid color, then a design, which

included the recipients name and birth date, was etched into the shell

with a needle or sharp tool. Such Easter eggs were honored in law courts as

evidence of identity and age.

Easter Bunny.

That a rabbit, or more accurately a hare, became a holiday symbol can be

traced to the origin of the word Easter. According to the Venerable Bede,

the English historian who lived from 672 to 735, the goddess Easter was

worshiped by the Anglo Saxons through her earthly symbol, the hare.

The custom of the Easter hare came to America with the Germans who

immigrated to Pennsylvania in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

From Pennsylvania, they gradually spread out to Virginia, North and

South Carolina, Tennessee, New York, and Canada, taking their customs with

them. Most eighteenth century Americans, however, were of more austere

religious denominations, such as Quaker, Presbyterian, and Puritan. They

virtually ignored such a seemingly frivolous symbol as a white rabbit. More

than a hundred years passed before this Teutonic Easter tradition began to

gain acceptance in America. In fact, it was not until after the Civil War,

with its Legacy of death and destruction, that the nation as a whole began

a widespread observance of Easter it self, led primarily by Presbyterians.

They viewed the story of resurrection as a source of inspiration and

renewed hope for the millions of bereaved Americans.

V. Thoughts from Ireland.

By tradition, Good Friday has always been a day of mourning and

fasting, for decorating churches with branches of yew (palm) and other

evergreens, and the ceremonial distribution of gifts to the poor.

Many Christians fast and attend services between noon and 3 p. m., the

hours Jesus is believed to have spent on the cross, since the day

commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus.

On Easter Sunday the churches are beautifully decorated with white

lilies. Joyful religious music is heard and sermons ring with hope.

Children and their parents traditionally attend church, usually wearing new

spring clothes. The mothers and their daughters wear colorful flowered

hats. Many other traditions and popular customs, which probably go back to

pagan times, are also associated with Easter throughout Europe, for

example, the sending of Easter cards and the giving of Easter eggs. Eggs

are a symbol of life and fertility or recreation of spring. It was not

however until the 19th century, that the practice of giving and exchanging

eggs at Easter was introduced in England.

Easter custom, the barrels are gratefully emptied by the participants.

In London there is Easter Parade in Battersea Park. What used to be merely

an occasion for sporting the latest fashions in the park on Easter Sunday

has now developed into one of the most spectacular carnival processions of

the year, with military bands, decorated floats, Easter Princess, and all.

Another thing English people traditionally eat at Easter is hot cross-

buns. One would hardly use them to cure whooping cough, but in bygone days

buns, which had been baked on Good Friday, were thought to have magical

healing powers. Because of the spices they contain, hot cross-buns seldom

go moldy, and even today country housewives hang a few from the kitchen

beams to dry. When needed, the buns can be powdered, mixed with milk or

water and given as a medicine. Of course, for the magic cure to work, they

have to be buns that were actually baked on Good Friday. For Easter dinners

at family reunions Englishmen traditionally eat baked ham or chicken with a

famous English apple-pie to follow/

For a good apple pie you will need:

1 lb apples (500 gm)

4 oz flour (100 gm)

2 oz butter or margarine (50 gm)

3 oz sugar (75 gm)

2 oz sultans (50 gm)

1 oz chopped nuts (25 gm)

1-teaspoon cinnamon.

Now you can make a real English apple pie. Here are the

instructions. Put them in the correct order, and number the instructions 1

to 6:

Mix the nuts, sultanas, cinnamon and half the sugar with the apples.

Bake in a medium oven (300F) for 30 minutes. Peel and core the apples. Cut

them into small pieces and put them into a baking dish. Sieve the flour

into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples.

Rub the soft butter into the flour with your finger tips. When the

butter melts, the mixture will look like bread crumbs. Add the rest of

the sugar. And now serve the pie hot with cream. Enjoy it! And as Russians

say, Christ is risen! Expecting the answer, Christ is risen indeed!

VI. Easter in England.

Easter it is a time for the giving and receiving of presents which

traditionally take the form of an Easter egg and hot cross buns. The Easter

egg is by far the most popular emblem of Easter, but fluffy little chicks,

baby rabbits and spring time flowers like daffodils, dangling catkins and

the arum lily are also used to signify the Nature's awakening.

Nowadays Easter eggs are usually made of chocolate or marzipan or sugar.

True Easter eggs are hard-boiled, dyed in bright colours, and sometimes

elaborately decorated. Colouring and decorating the festival eggs seems to

have been customary since time immemorial They can be dipped into a

prepared dye or, more usually, boiled in it, or they may be boiled inside a

covering of onion peel Natural dyes are often used for coloring today. They

are obtained from flowers, leaves, mosses, bark, and wood-chips.

Egg-rolling is a traditional Easter pastime which still flourishes in

Britain. It takes place on Easter Sunday or Monday, and consists of rolling

coloured, hard-boiled eggs down a slope until they are cracked and broken

after which they are eaten by their owners. In some districts this is a

competitive game. But originally egg-rolling provided an opportunity for

divination. Each player marked his or her egg with an identifying sign and

then watched to see how it sped down the slope. If it reached the bottom

unscathed, the owner could expect good luck in the future, but if it was

broken, unfortune would follow before the year was out, Eating hot cross

buns at breakfast on Good Friday morning is a custom which is also

flourishing in most English households. Formerly, these round, cakes marked

with a cross, eaten hot, were made by housewives who rose at dawn; for the

purpose, or by local bakers who worked through the night to have them ready

for delivery to their customers in time for breakfast. There is an old

belief that the true Good Friday bun that is, one made on the anniversary

itself never goes moldy, if kept in a dry place. It was once also

supposed to have curative powers, especially for ailments like dysentery,

diarrhea, whooping cough, and the complaint known as "summer sickness".

Within living memory, it was still quite usual in country districts for a

few buns to be hung from the kitchen ceiling until, they are needed. When

illness came the bun was finely grated and mixed with milk or water, to

make a medicine, which the patient drank.

VIII. Easter in Ukraine and Russia.

In Ukrainian, Easter is called Velikden (The Great Day). It has been

celebrated over a long period of history and has many rich folk traditions

that are no longer fully preserved. The last Sunday before Easter (Palm

Sunday) is called Willow Sunday (Verbna nedilia). On this day pussy-willow

branches are blessed in the church. The people tap one another with these

branches, repeating the wish: Be as tall as the willow, as healthy as the

water, and as rich as the earth.

The week before Easter, the Great Week (Holy Week), is called the

White or Pure Week. During this time an effort is made to finish all

fieldwork before Thursday, since from Thursday on work is forbidden. On the

evening of Pure (also called Great or Passion [Strasnyi]) Thursday,

the passion (strasti) service is performed, after which the people return

home with lighted candles. Maundy Thursday, called the Eater of the dead

in eastern Ukraine and Russia, is connected with the cult of the dead, who

are believed to meet in the church on that night for the Divine Mass.

On Passion (Strasna) Friday Good Friday no work is done. In some

localities, the Holy Shroud (plashchanytsia) is carried solemnly three

times around the church and, after appropriate services, laid out for

public veneration. For three days the community celebrates to the sound of

bells and to the singing of spring songs vesnianky. Easter begins with

the Easter matins and high mass, during which the pasky (traditional Easter

breads) and pysanky and krashanky (decorated or colored Easter eggs) are

blessed in the church. Butter, lard, cheese, roast-suckling pigs, sausage,

smoked meat, and little napkins containing poppy seeds, millet, salt,

pepper, and horseradish are also blessed. After the matins all the people

in the congregation exchange Easter greetings, give each other krashanky,

and then hurry home with their baskets of blessed food.

The pysanky and krashanky are an old pre-Christian element and have an

important role in the Eater rites. They are given as gifts or exchanged as

a sign of affection, and their shells are put in water for the rakhmany

(peaceful souls); finally, they are placed on the graves of the dead or

buried in graves and the next day are taken out and given to the poor.

Related to the exchange of krashanky is the rite of sprinkling with water,

which is still carried on in Western Ukraine. During the Easter season in

Ukraine and Russia the cult of the dead is observed. The dead are

remembered on Maundy Thursday and also during the whole week after Easter.

For the commemoration of the dead (provody) the people gather in the

cemetery by the church, bringing with them a dish containing some food and

liquor or wine, which they consume, leaving the rest at the graves.

.

1. The English, April 14/1996.

2. The English, March 12/1997.

3. The English, March 12/1995.

4. English Learners digest, April, 1995.

5. English Learners digest, April, 1997.



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