Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The celebration of Easter extends beyond the church. Since its origins, it has been a time of celebration and feasting. Today it is commercially important, seeing wide sales of greeting cards and confectionery such as chocolate Easter eggs, marshmallow bunnies, Peeps, and jelly beans.

Here's a gist of how Easter is celebrated by the Pagan population or the less-religious Christian community and the rest of the world.

1. America:

Throughout North America, the Easter holiday has been partially secularized, so that some families participate only in the attendant revelry, central to which is decorating Easter eggs on Saturday evening and hunting for them Sunday morning, by which time they have been mysteriously hidden all over the house and garden. Many families in America will attend Sunday Mass or services in the morning and then participate in a feast or party in the afternoon.

2. Belgium:

Belgium shares the same traditions as North America but sometimes it is said that the Bells of Rome bring the Easter Eggs together with the Easter Bunny. The story goes that the bells of every church leave for Rome on Saturday which is called "Stille Zaterdag" which means "Silent Saturday" in Dutch. So since the bells are in Rome, the bells don't ring anywhere.

3. Scandinavia:

In Norway, in addition to skiing in the mountains and painting eggs for decorating, it is tradition to solve murders at Easter. All the major television channels show crime and detective stories (such as Poirot), magazines print stories where the readers can try to figure out who did it, and many new books are published. Even the milk cartons change to have murder stories on their sides. Another tradition is Yahtzee games. In Finland and Sweden, traditions include egg painting and small children dressed as witches collecting candy door-to-door, in exchange for decorated pussy willows. This is a result of the mixing of an old Orthodox tradition (blessing houses with willow branches) and the Scandinavian Easter witch tradition. Fake feathers and little decorations are also placed on willow branches in a vase. For lunch/dinner on Holy Saturday, families traditionally feast on a smörgåsbord of herring, salmon, potatoes, eggs and other kinds of food. In Finland, the Lutheran majority enjoys mämmi as another traditional easter treat, while the Orthodox minority's traditions include eating pasha instead.

4. Netherlands:

In the eastern part of the Netherlands (Twente and Achterhoek), Easter Fires are lit on Easter Day at sunset.

5. Central Europe:

In the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, a tradition of whipping is carried out on Easter Monday. In the morning, males whip females with a special handmade whip called pomlázka (in Czech) or korbáč (in Slovak). The pomlázka/korbáč consists of eight, twelve or even twenty-four withies (willow rods) and is usually from half a metre to two metres long and decorated with coloured ribbons at the end. The purpose is for males to exhibit their attraction to females. The whipped female gives a colored egg to the male as a sign of her thanks and forgiveness. In some regions the females can get revenge in the afternoon when they can pour a bucket of cold water on any male. The habit slightly varies across the Czech Republic.

In Hungary (where it is called Ducking Monday), perfume or perfumed water is often sprinkled in exchange for an Easter egg.

Source: wikipedia

Send this free eCard
Send this eCard !

Send this eCard !


AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Dave Richards at Tuesday, February 27, 2007 ¤ Permalink ¤