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Easter 2019

Easter 2019

Chocolate eggs, the Easter bunny and a bank holiday are what many younger people think of in the UK when you mention Easter, but this religious festival has many much older traditions and is celebrated in different ways across the world.

Easter is the most important celebration of the year for Christians, but the English word for ‘Easter’ actually originates from the ancient lunar Month ‘Eosturmonath’ which means the Month of opening (referring to buds opening).

Some people say that Pagans also celebrated the goddess of spring ‘Eostre’ for bringing light after winter. Eostre had the symbol of a hare, which could be one of the reasons that Germans brought us the tradition of the ‘Osterhase’ or Easter hare, who places chocolate eggs into special nests made by children and left outside on Easter Sunday. This tradition has now been adopted by country’s all over the world in the form of the Easter Bunny.

In England on Easter Sunday the Easter bunny might leave chocolate eggs hidden around the house or garden for children to find, this is followed by a roast dinner (traditionally lamb with mint sauce) and Simnal cake – a fruit cake similar to Christmas cake but traditionally decorated with Eleven marzipan balls (to symbolise the twelve apostles minus Judas).

Eggs feature in a lot of Easter traditions, as a symbol of rebirth. In much of Europe eggs are decorated at Easter, but this is taken to another level in Poland where eggs are beautifully decorated with wax in traditional patterns and dyed red to symbolise the blood of Jesus.

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Another tradition taking place on Easter Sunday, which started in Cumbria in Northern England, has now crossed the Atlantic to the USA. “Egg dumps’ or ‘Egg tapping’ are competitions where you take it in turns to tap an opponent’s egg with your own and try to break it – similar to the game of conkers. ‘Egg rolling’ is a race where you have to roll your egg down a hill without breaking it, getting to the finish line before anyone else’s egg.

In Poland Easter baskets are taken to church and blessed on Easter Saturday. These baskets contain special foods such as: decorated eggs, sausage, bread, horseradish sauce, salt and a figure of a lamb. Each food in the basket symbolises something special to Easter.

On Easter Sunday Polish families share the food from this basket for breakfast, which also normally finished with Zurek soup or white borscht and sausage.
Easter Monday in Poland is ‘Smingus Dyngus Day’ when men traditionally have to splash women with buckets of water in the morning, this was supposed to make sure enough rain will fall in the summer for a good harvest. Nowadays on Smingus Dyngus Day children around Poland splash water on everyone just for fun.

Easter it is a time of happiness for everyone whatever your background. Enjoy the time with your Family and maybe you can make some traditions of your own.