How do you celebrate Easter?
Perhaps by searching for easter eggs filled with candy, painting beautiful easter eggs, decorate with twigs and feathers, “Gå Påskkärring” or go skiing? Yes, this sounds like an ordinary Swedish Easter. But why do you celebrate Easter really? Is it for the candy and eggs, social interaction with friends, family, or to spend time outdoors? No Easter is actually the biggest Christian celebration in the world and is celebrated in memory of important Christian and religious events.
This has been forgotten a lot in many cultures. A lot of countries have many non-religious traditions around Easter. In Iceland, for example they have Chocolate eggs filled with candy, but also with words of wisdom. In England and Germany, they have the Easter Bunny and chocolate eggs hidden in the garden, and people will go egg hunting for Easter eggs with candy. In South Africa and Australia there are huge markets and fairgrounds and music exhibitions, sales, amusement park, contests and food. In Greece there are fireworks and walks with candlelight in the streets. In France, the Easter bells fly to Rome and come back with sweets for the children. In Spain, the children get very much chocolate and they make great chocolate sculptures like fairytale castles and pirate ships. In all countries it is important to have food around Easter and many eat lamb. This comes from Judaism which sacrificed lamb during the Passover.
Many play special games during Easter. In Switzerland for instance they play a game to hit a hole in a decorated egg with a coin. Each competitor throws a coin from a certain position to the egg. If you miss the opponent get the coin. If you succeed, you get to keep the coin. In the US, it is very common with egg rolling. Then you have a hard-boiled egg and a long stick. All who compete lay their eggs in a row and at a given signal begin to roll their eggs towards the finish line. Germany has egg-knocking. The contestants take one egg each, painted or hard boiled, depending on how sticky you want to be. Than tap the peaks against one another until an egg crack. The person with a whole egg has won.
But why do you celebrate this religious ceremony really?
Easter celebration began with Jews celebrating the exodus from Egypt around 1500 century BC. And to celebrate that night when according to tradition, Jews slaughtered the lamb and smeared the blood on the door posts so the angel of death spared Israel.
The Christian Easter is celebrated to remember Jesus' suffering, death and resurrection. Here you celebrate Palm Sunday when Jesus rode into Jerusalem and was hailed as a king, to celebrate Holy Thursday when Jesus ate the Last Supper with his disciples, Good Friday, when he was crucified, and Easter Sunday when he arose from the dead. In Romania, Easter is a more important time than Christmas itself. Here you fast six weeks before Easter, do confession and go to church both on Good Friday, the night between Saturday and Sunday and on Easter Sunday itself.
In many countries around the world celebration is not just by going to church, but also to relive the entire history of Jesus' passion by for example walk the walk with the cross on his back and in some countries even allow people to be crucified to remember.
For children around the world, it is very common to play theater and drama in their churches where they like that recount Jesus' passion story. It has many songs where you remember that he came to earth and lived as an ordinary man and then gave his life for all people. It is also happy songs about that he won over death by rising from the dead and through this gave people an eternal life and an opportunity to get to Heaven.