Easter Celebrations

Easter is the most important of the Christian religious holidays – celebrating the joyous resurrection of Jesus Christ from the tomb after his crucifixion. There are many ways that Christian cultures celebrate Easter, let’s take a look at some.

The most important celebratory event on Eastern Sunday is a sunrise service, to rejoice and sing praise to the risen Lord. The service is a very happy one with lots of singing and bright, cheerful colors throughout the church. The service has a decidedly less formal pattern, but a pattern nonetheless. There is a blessing, a lighting of the paschal candle, a service that includes lessons on the teachings and sacrifice of Christ, another blessing, baptisms and Easter mass. Orthodox churches perform a procession outside to conduct a symbolic church for Christ’s body and thus joyfully announce that “Chris is risen!” and then the procession returns to the church for the service.

Easter eggs are thought to represent the empty tomb, but they are known to represent new life and rebirth, thus a natural addition to a springtime religious festival. Dating all the way back to medieval times eggs were given to servants at Easter and to children in Germany along with other gifts.

Chocolate Easter bunnies have been around since the early 19th century and remain exceedingly popular in Easter baskets even today. Over 90 million chocolate Easter bunnies are made each year to be included in children’s Easter baskets.

Dancing is also a popular way to celebrate on Easter Sunday, as is witnessed in Ireland where Christians dance on the streets. While they are dancing to win a prize of a cake, the rest of the Irish observations of Easter Sunday are sacred and filled with fasting and prayer.

Many countries celebrate in very differing ways. For example, in Malta Easter Sunday is a joyous event with a parade and a band. The procession is then followed by a huge lunchtime family gathering where everyone enjoys a feast of spring lamb, vegetables and baked potatoes. Afterwards the children are given a chocolate or confectionary treat.

In Mexico, Christian communities will reenact the events of the holy week, to include the Resurrection. These reenactments are known for theatrical flair, with the actors preparing for a full year to play their parts.

What religious holiday isn’t famous for its myths and legends? One such legend is of a young rabbit that waited anxiously for three days for his friend, Jesus, to come back to the Garden of Gethsemane. It is told that when Jesus returned to the garden on Easter morning he was greeted by his friend, the rabbit. While only a legend, it is a sweet possible explanation of the inclusion of rabbits in the celebration of Easter.

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