Easter has a lot of days which are rich in traditions. In most European countries and in America the Easter is a Christian holiday. It it’s the days where the Christians celebrate, as it was told in the Bible, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Easter day is therefore also a celebration of the triumph of life over death.
The Easter days are
Shrove TuesdayThe Shrove Tuesday is a day of feasting and is the last day before Lent. In a lot of countries they stop eating fat during Lent and it can be hard to give up eating fat as it is an ingredient in a lot of dishes.
To use up all fat in the house, a lot of people use up all the fat that they have. E.g. in Germany and Austria they cook crullers (some kind of doughnut), in Finland they bake pancakes.
In the city named Olney in England they celebrate Shrove Tuesday in a very funny way – and have done it in the last 500 years. They are having a pancake race going from the city center to the church. All participants are holding a frying pan with a pancake on while they run. During the race they have to flip the pancake at least 3 times
Ash WednesdayLent is started on a Wednesday, Ash Wednesday. Back in the old days it was a day where the Christians dressed up in old clothes and put ash in their face. In this way they tried to show God that they were sorry about the wrong things they have done during the past year. In modern time there are still Christians putting ash in their face in the church on Ash Wednesday.
Palm SundayThe day starting Easter is Palm Sunday and going right up to Pentecost. Palm Sunday marks the start of Easter and the quiet week. Palm Sunday has its name because of the palm branches were placed in front of Jesus when he rode into Jerusalem and took it. When people saw Jesus they placed the palm leaves in front of him on the road. Today Palm Sunday is a day where Christian goes to church and they decorate with palm leaves. In countries where they do not have palms, they are using other trees or flowers to decorate with, e.g. willow or yew.
Good FridayGood Friday is the day where Jesus was put on the cross and later died. A very sad day for Christians, they thought they would never see him again.
In a long period of years the day was called “God’s Friday” but has slowly changed name to Good Friday, probably because it sounds almost the same when you pronounce it. The day has a lot of different names in other countries, e.g. Holy Friday, Long Friday, Big Friday, Silent Friday.
It is very common around the world to have church services this day. In South American countries it is common to have parades in the last weeks of the Easter week.
Easter SundayEaster Sunday was the day when Jesus friends realized that Jesus was resurrected. To be sure about it, they went to the cave where Jesus was buried. The rock which had been placed in front of the entrance to the cave was pushed aside and the cave was empty. The finding of the empty cave assured them that Jesus were alive again. People believed that Jesus would give people who believed in him eternal life.
To celebrate Jesus promise about eternal life, most Christians go to church on Easter Sunday wearing their nicest clothes. The churches are decorated with nice flowers and candlelight.
Easter MondayEaster Monday has different ways of being celebrated. Actually it is not celebrated that much anymore and it is different from country to country which traditions they have or had.
Back in the old days Easter Monday was a wet day – people believed that water was a special thing in the Easter. Young girls believed that washing their face in the morning dew would make them pretty.
In some parts of Europe Easter Monday was ‘celebrated’ by pushing friends into the water.
A totally different custom is from England. Here they called the day for "heaving" or "lifting". The custom was that men went around in the village with a chair decorated in flowers. They made girls and women’s sit in the chair and lifted the chair towards the sky three times. On the following Monday it was the women’s turn lifting the men.
The purpose of the lifting was to bring luck. And it probably started because it reminded people that Jesus was raised from his grave or to “ask” to have their corps to grow tall.
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