Easter Traditions and Easter Chocolate
What is Easter ?
Easter is traditionally a Christian celebrated holiday where they remember Jesus Christ’s resurrection. In the Bible’s New Testament it is said that Jesus rose from the dead three days after he was crucified. For Christians Easter is celebrated across a week called ‘Holy Week’ where they remember Jesus and how they believe he died for their sins.
However, whilst Easter is tightly linked to the Christians belief in Jesus there are Easter associated traditions which date back to the pagan times, pre-Christianity.
When is Easter ?
Easter occurs on a Sunday in April but the exact date differs each year, in 2020 Easter Sunday is on the 12th of April.
Religious Traditions Surrounding Easter
As mentioned for Christians Easter is a very significant holiday because it marks a time where they can both celebrate his life and remember the importance of his Crucifixion as well as his rising. These events are celebrated across Holy Week.
Holy Week starts the Sunday before Easter Sunday which is known as Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus Christ’s arrival in Jerusalem where people gathered in the streets to greet him laying down palm leaves in front of him and his donkey. The significance of palm leaves has been carried through to todays traditions, with some Anglican and Roman Catholic churches giving out palm leave crosses as a reminded of Jesus Christ and his crucifixion.
The second Holy Week day to note is Maundy Thursday. On the Thursday before Easter Sunday Christians remember the Passover Meal Jesus shared with his disciples, the Passover Meal is often referred to as the Last Supper where Jesus broke bread and drunk wine with his disciples. Maundy Thursday is remember through a Holy Communion or Mass where Christians share bread and wine together remembering how Jesus sacrificed his life for them.
Good Friday is celebrated on the Friday before Easter Sunday and is remembers Jesus’ Crucifixion. Good Friday is a day of mourning for Christians, often churches will hold re-enactments or processions where they remember Jesus’ suffering for what he believed in and how this impacted their faith.
The final day of note in Holy Week is Easter Sunday which marks the day Jesus resurrected. It was this Sunday when Mary Magdalene and some disciples went to visit the tomb where Jesus’ body was laid to rest and saw that the stone which was guarding the tomb had been moved and Jesus’ body had disappeared. Later that day Jesus appeared to Mary and his disciples and they realised that God had resurrected Jesus from the dead for forty day, Easter Sunday marks the first day of his resurrection.
Easter Traditions around the world
In 1991 Australians decided they wanted to change the Easter Bunny with a more Australian Significant animal. It was decided that the extremely endangered bilby would replace the rabbit and that during Easter a proportion of the proceeds the Easter Bilby would make would go towards protecting endangered animals.
In Florence is it tradition that a decorated cart filled with fireworks is led through the cities streets until it reaches Florence’s Cathedral where the Archbishop of Florence will light the fireworks during an Easter mass and the groups gathered will watch the interactive colourful display. The firework cart is supposed to ensure a good harvest and good luck throughout the next season.
Those in Finland mark Easter by dressing children up as witches and they go around begging for chocolate eggs. Sometimes this is also marked by a large bonfire which Finish people believe will ward of any witches which should visit between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
A polish tradition during Easter is known as Smigus-dyngus where boys will throw water on people. The tradition started due to the Easter baptism of Polish Prince Mieszko in 966AD and some believe that girls that get soaked will end up getting married in the upcoming year.
In Haux, a small town in France an Easter tradition is to serve a giant omelette in the town’s main square, the omelete uses upwards of 4,500 eggs and over 1000 people usually attended. Those that live in Haux say the tradition first came about when Napoleon and his army passed through they ate omelettes and enjoyed it so much that Napoleon ordered the people of Haux to make a giant omelette big enough to feed his entire army.
In Corfu on Holiday Saturday a traditional pot throwing takes place. People throw pots out of their windows leaving them to smash in the streets. Participants believe that the smashing of the pots welcomes Spring and signifies a good harvest.
On Good Friday the Pope remembers Holy Week through a Mass which is held on Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. The service attracts people from all over the world who gather in St Peter’s Square to await the Popes service, in particular his Easter blessing known as Urbi et Orbi.
Czech Republic and Slovakia
A less religious tradition is marked in Eastern Europe where Men carry handmade colour whips which are decorated with ribbons and they will playfully spank women. The meaning behind the tradition is said to impart the willow vitality and fertility onto the women spanked.
In the small medieval town of Verges, Spain a traditional death dance is performance. People dressed in skeleton costumes gather and run through the streets, the death dance begins at midnight and ends in the early morning when few more terrifyingly dressed skeletons sun through the streets carrying boxes of those passed away ashes.
Perhaps one of the most well-known Easter Traditions is held in Washington at the White House. For the past 130 years an Easter Egg Roll has be hosted by the president as the White House where people are invited to roll colourful hard-boiled eggs and partake in other activities such as the traditional egg hunt.
Christians in Jerusalem celebrate Good Friday by walking the same path Jesus did when he arrived in Jerusalem carrying his cross through the streets. Those that partake remember his suffering for the greater good and then on Easter Sunday a mass is held at the Tomb where Jesus is believed to have been buried and resurrected.
In Sicily locals fear terrifying decorated zinc masks and wear red robes which resemble the devil. The devils pester other people (in modern times this has changed to making them pay for the devils drinks) and this continue until the afternoon when they believe Christ would have risen and sends the devils away with angels taking their place.
Across the World
Whilst many Easter activities reflect a countries individual tradition, across the world there are similarity. Such as the Easter egg hunt or using chocolate to mark Easter.
The Easter Egg
Originally during Holy Week eating eggs was banned and as a result people would save their eggs and ornately decorate them to then give to Children as gifts. This tradition was adapted multiple times until modern times when chocolate was created in the shape of an egg and is gifted to people to mark Easter.
The Easter Bunny
It is believed that the bunny first become an Easter icon in the 19th century. The reason for this is that rabbits are a symbol for new life to the large litters they give birth too. However, whilst the majority see the Bunny as an Easter symbol in parts of Switzerland it is the cuckoo and in Germany some see the Fox as the Easter animal.
The date that Easter should be celebrated caused much dispute amongst different religious, different countries with many believing a different story. Due to an exact day not being agreed on it was settled that Easter Sunday could fall on any Sunday between March 22nd to April 25th.
For Eastern Orthodox Churches Easter is celebrated later than the traditional date due to their Julian Calendar. It is also strictly prohibited that Easter is celebrated at the same time as Passover.
Facts about Easter
- Italy is the proud creators of the worlds tallest Easter Egg, it was about 35ft tall and weighed more than an elephant!
- The term Easter came from the Anglo-Saxon Goddess- Eastre who symbolises both the hare and the egg.
- Eggs were gifted before the introduction Easter as a sign of fertility and re-birth of a new season.
- There used to be a tradition churches observed that resembled the game of "hot potato." Here, the priest would toss a hardboiled egg to one of the choir boys. The boys would toss the egg amongst themselves and when the clock struck 12, whomever had the egg was the winner and got to keep the egg.
- The most popular Non-Chocolate Easter Snack is marshmallow peeps and Jellybeans. People eat enough Jellbeans during Easter that if you lined all the eaten Jellybeans up it would be enough to circle the Earth three times.
- After Halloween, Easter is the most chocolate, sweet consumed holidays of the year.
- Florida is responsible for the largest Easter Egg Hunt to date, just under 10,000 children participated to find half a million Easter Eggs.
- The first annual White House Easter Egg Event was held in 1878 by President Rutherford B Hayes.
- Even though Germany also see the Fox as an Easter symbol, it is also believed that the story of the Easter bunny giving chocolate originated here.
Radley Easter Bags we Love
The Ada Street small backpack puts functionality and delicate craftsmanship at the forefront. Crafted from smooth leather, it is designed with clean stitch trims and gold metal hardware for a sleek touch. This style is finished with adjustable back straps and a flap over front with a drawstring fastening, keeping all your essentials safe when on the go.
A forever piece with endless wearability; our new Wilton Way multiway bag is beautifully crafted with a sleek silhouette, superior leathers and a cross body strap you can adjust and remove. Divided by a central zipped pocket, the multi-compartment design makes organising your essentials effortless - whether you’re commuting to work or catching up with friends. It also boasts the kind of style-with-anything appeal that makes it a timeless classic.
Crafted from luxuriously smooth leather, our new Devonport Mews shoulder bag is the classic style you’ll be carrying for years to come. A contemporary buckle-inspired flap closure gives its sleek silhouette a modern update while the multi-compartment design offers ample space and organisation opportunities. Beautifully finished with gold foil details and a hanging Radley Scottie dog, the forever piece promises everyday chic - whether you’re commuting to work or making the most of the weekend.
An effortless staple for both coastal and city escapes: our new Sea Road shoulder bag will accompany you everywhere. Thoughtfully crafted with heavy canvas and contrasting nylon lining, it’s designed with enough space for a spare pair of flip flops and your latest read. A forever classic, it’s finished with soft grainy leather trims and a hanging Radley Scottie dog. - Crafted from heavy canvas.
A staple style for the woman on- the-go, this medium sized multiway bag is beautifully crafted from grainy leather that will last for years to come. Complete with multi-compartments made for keeping your essentials in check, wear this design across your body for a hands-free look.