Easter: Traditions and Where They Come From. By Viola Wilbanks
Which things are related to Easter? Candles? Bunnies? Chicks? Penitents? Eggs? Pasos ? Fancy hats? All of them!
Holy Week in Andalusia In Andalusia, the Easter holiday is celebrated from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday . This holiday is called Holy Week. During Holy Week there are processions that depict the Passion of Jesus Christ. In the processions there are members of different brotherhoods (religious groups) who dress as penitents and walk in the processions. In the processions there are lots of candles, flowers and incense.
Holy Week in Andalusia How does your town celebrate Holy Week? Does your town have pasos or tronos? Do you belong to a brotherhood? There are also large pasos or tronos with statues of Jesus, the Virgin, and other biblical figures that people carry through the streets. The people who carry the statues are called bearers . Celebrating Holy Week can vary from one Andalusian town or city to another.
Easter in the United States In the United States, people celebrate Easter very differently from Andalusia. Christians in the U.S. celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ by going to church. Easter Sunday is one of the most important holidays for Christians; but many people who are not Christian also celebrate at Easter time. Easter is a Christian holiday, but many Easter traditions in the USA come from ancient pagan beliefs and festivals. Some popular traditions like the Easter bunny and egg hunts are celebrated by almost all Americans.
Here Comes Peter Cottontail In pagan times, people in Northern Europe celebrated the coming of Spring in mid March at the equinox. In Spring the days begin to get longer. Plants and flowers sprout and bloom and baby animals are born. Rabbits are a symbol of fertility and spring, that’s why in the U.S. people still associate rabbits with Easter. Children in the U.S.A. have Easter baskets that they put out on the Saturday before Easter Sunday and that night the Easter bunny comes and brings them presents that he leaves in their baskets. Chocolate bunnies are a typical Easter treat.
Easter Egg Dying! Another Easter tradition in the United States is coloring boiled eggs. When the Easter bunny comes, he hides the eggs the children have decorated and on Easter morning the children look for them. This is called an Easter Egg hunt. How would you decorate an Easter egg?
What’s in a Name In English, the name Easter comes from the Pagan Goddess, Eostre. She was the goddess of fertility and renewal. However in other European languages, the name for the celebration comes from the Hebrew word for the Jewish holiday that usually coincides with the same dates as Easter: Pesach . Pesach became Pascha in Greek and Latin and later Pascua in Spanish. This is the Anglo-Saxon Goddess Eostre. She is holding a rabbit, symbol of fertility. This is the word Pesach written in Hebrew.
Pesach-Passover-Pascua Many Americans are Jewish and the important Jewish holiday Passover usually happens around the same dates as Christian Easter celebrations. The Jewish holiday celebrates the liberation of the Jews and their flight from Egypt. During the eight days of Passover, Jews eat a kind of cracker called Mazto. This is because according to tradition Jewish women left Egypt in such a hurry that their bread didn’t have time to rise. The dough dried into hard crackers.
Can you Remember?? <ul><li>How do you say “ costalero ” in English? </li></ul><ul><li>Are rabbits a symbol for Easter time? </li></ul><ul><li>Where does the name Pascua come from? </li></ul><ul><li>What do American children do to celebrate Easter? </li></ul><ul><li>What’s a typical Easter treat? </li></ul><ul><li>Do Jews eat bread at Passover? </li></ul><ul><li>Is Holy Week the same all over Andalusia? </li></ul><ul><li>What’s your favorite part of Easter celebrations in the U.S.? What about in Andalusia? </li></ul>