Origins• Easter, like many modern festivals in the UK, was originally a religious festival. Nowadays, however, many people take part who aren’t usually religious.• At Easter Christians celebrate when Jesus was crucified and rose again, and some people consider it the most important Christian festival.
Days of Easter• Easter begins with ‘shrove Tuesday,’ more commonly known as ‘pancake day.’ People used to eat all the rich food they had left before Lent, which was a period of fasting.• In England today, some people still follow Lent by giving up something they enjoy (eg. sweets or chocolate.)• As children we were told that it teaches you to be more thankful and to think
•Pancake day is celebratedby a lot of people inEngland.•We eat lots of pancakes,usually for either breakfastor tea, and traditionally withlemon juice and sugar butoften with nutella, fruit, icecream or other sweet things•It is followed by ‘AshWednesday’ when we wentto church and were markedwith ash on our foreheads.This marks the beginning ofLent.
• Lent lasts for 40 days, and ends with Holy Week. The weekend before Easter is Palm Sunday, when we went to church and everyone had a small cross made from palm leaves.• The last 3 days before are Maundy Thursday, Good Friday (when you can’t eat meat, only fish) and Easter Saturday.
• On Easter Sunday is when Jesus rose from the dead and when the children are allowed to open any Easter eggs or other Easter chocolate they have received (after attending church, of course!)• In England Good Friday and Easter Monday (the day after Easter) are both bank holidays.
Easter Symbols• Eggs and chicks (baby chickens) at Easter symbolise new life.• Many eggs at the moment are produced by big chocolate companies.
• Lambs (baby sheep) at this time symbolize the Lamb of God (ie. Jesus.) Due to the time of year they can be seen in the countryside.• Similarly rabbits and hares are also signs of spring and new life, often used as Easter symbols.
• The Easter Bunny (another word for rabbit, often used when talking to small children) has become very popular in the USA, and is known but not very common in the UK too.• It is a character a little like Santa Claus who comes to give children chocolate eggs.
• Hot cross buns also symbolise Easter (and spring in general) to me. They are small, sweet buns of bread with raisins inside and a cross of icing on top to remind us of Jesus crucifixion. (And they’re very tasty!)• Daffodils are also a sign of this time of year, and can often be seen in England.
Modern Traditions • In my primary school, one of the main events of Easter was the Easter egg raffle. Each child brought at least one Easter egg into school, and we all sat in the hall and had a raffle. If you were lucky you could win two or even three eggs!
• It is also fairly common to have an Easter egg hunt. Parents hide small chocolate eggs around the house or garden and the children have to find them all.