Easter is another time when there is a lot to do: Eggs have to be painted and bunnies distributed throughout the house. Easter lamb is also traditionally baked in many families, or the Easter fire is enjoyed together.
In this article of Gazettely, you can find out where these and some other Easter traditions come from in a short, concise and child-friendly way. Stay tuned.
Easter custom #10: The Easter lamb
Baking a literally sugar-sweet Easter lamb is based on a custom at the Jewish Passover, which recalls the exodus from Egypt and the liberation of the Israelites. A lamb is traditionally slaughtered for the occasion.
In Christian tradition, a lamb is a sign of life and purity. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who overcame death. Today, besides roast lamb, baked Easter lamb made of the sponge is a widespread Easter custom.
Easter custom #9: Give away Easter eggs
The Easter custom of giving away Easter eggs comes from the Middle Ages. Taxes to the feudal lord, his teachers or church fathers were paid out in eggs because the eggs were considered a very precious commodity.
By the way, since, according to Christian tradition, they were not allowed to be eaten during Lent, the eggs were boiled and laid during the 40 days from the beginning to the end of Lent. Thus, they were longer durable. Then they were colored or painted to distinguish them from the raw eggs. On Easter Sunday, the colored eggs could be eaten with relish or given away to loved ones.
Easter custom #8: Dyeing Easter eggs
Dying Easter eggs is one of the most widespread Easter traditions. The origins of the Easter egg in the Christian faith are not completely clear. The egg is, for example, in the history of art as a symbol of the resurrection. In many religions, it stands for rebirth, as from the egg hatches new life.
Even in ancient Rome and among the Greeks, spring eggs were decorated and given to friends. Colorful eggs hung in temples as decoration. The custom has endured for millennia. Even today, brightly colored Easter eggs decorate our front yards and colorfully decorated Easter tables. Get inspiration for a great DIY table decoration for Easter here.
Easter custom #7: The Easter bunny
The Easter eggs are laid, colored and hidden by the Easter Bunny. But where did this Easter custom come from? Compared to other Easter customs, this story of the Easter Bunny is still new and modern.
There is the first evidence of the famous Easter bunny tradition from the second half of the 17th century. The Easter bunny became established in popular belief only after the toy and candy industry also discovered the Easter bunny for themselves. The hare, though, always stood for fertility and a new beginning. The hare has its young in the spring and likes to stay close to people searching for food.
Easter custom #6: The Easter water
Today, Easter water is the baptismal water blessed in the Easter vigil. However, the origins of the Easter custom also date back to pagan times. The water has always been considered a symbol of fertility and life and was revered by the Germanic tribes as a symbol of Ostera, goddess of fertility and spring.
Water at Easter had special healing powers, so it was believed: that everyone would stay young and beautiful who bathes in a flowing stream on Easter morning. Unmarried women, in particular, followed this tradition. Nowadays, traditionally, many children are baptized and consecrated with the holy Easter water at Easter.
Easter custom #5: Sending Easter greetings
Another modern custom is to send dear words at Easter. Traditionally, mail with a self-made card or just by WhatsApp: Friends and family will be undoubtedly happy about dear Easter greetings.
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Easter custom #4: The Easter candle
An Easter custom that has Roman, Greek, Jewish and Christian traditions. Light is considered a sign of life. Easter Vigil was lit with candles, and the Easter candle represents Jesus Christ, who brought light into the darkness. During the Easter Vigil, from Holy Saturday to Easter Sunday, the Paschal candle is lit on the consecrated Easter fire and carried into the dark church.
The congregation says the words, “Christ is the light – thanks be to God forever”. Thereupon, the believers can light the candles they have brought with them on the Easter candle. The paschal candle burns until Pentecost.
Easter custom #3: Easter egg search
The Easter egg hunt is probably one of children’s most popular Easter traditions. However, some adults also still attach importance to being able to search for their Easter surprise on Easter Sunday. The first written mention of this Easter custom dates back to the 17th century in Germany.
Presumably, though, a much older pagan custom is behind it: in honor of Ostara, goddess of spring, over a thousand years ago, eggs were given away because they were the symbol of fertility. Because the Church forbade this custom, eggs had to be given away secretly, that is, they had to be hidden. To this day, it is not attested how the Easter egg hunt really originated. But there are many sweet fairy tales and Easter stories about it, which you can tell or read to children at Easter.
Easter custom #2: The Easter walk
This Easter custom involves the whole family going for a walk on either Easter Sunday or Easter Monday to welcome spring together. A joyful family walk boosts the immune system and builds cohesion! An alternative to the Easter walk can be a nice family outing.
Easter custom #1: The Easter fire
Fire also has an important role in the Christian faith. For instance, Moses appears to God in the burning bush and proclaims the Ten Commandments. However, our custom of the Easter fire originates from a pagan tradition:
After a cold winter, the fire was supposed to draw the sun down to earth in the spring to warm the earth again after a long winter and usher in the harvest season. Still today, in many regions, Easter fires are traditionally lit. Again and again, a community highlight with which the spring is welcomed.