Easter in the US and around the world
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Easter is a celebration of the victory of life over death and good over evil. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ – the son of God. It is one of the most popular festivals in the United States and world over, especially with children. Though Easter has a religious background it has become progressively more secular in nature.
Easter In The United States
However, this was not always the case. Easter was not so popular with the early Puritan settlers in America. This was primarily because the early settlers were either Puritans or Protestants and had little use for ceremonies associated with religious festivals. In fact, even the Puritans in Massachusetts tried to play down the celebrations of Easter as far as possible.
It was only after the bloodshed that occurred during the Civil War that people started appreciating the significance of Easter. The story of Jesus Christ’s resurrection brought new hope into the lives of those who had lost loved ones. The mass scale massacre that occurred was infused with the possibility of new beginnings and Easter was the celebration of a new dawn. Since then Easter has become the festival for new beginnings in United States and today it enjoys the status of a premier festival.
All over United States the customs of Easter are pretty much the same. The Lent season of fasting and penance, carnivals, egg eating competitions, gifting eggs and egg hunting. Some cities stage passion plays and Easter parades as well.
Easter Customs In Africa
As in United States, in Africa also Easter is celebrated as a major festival of the Christian communities. Churches anticipate the Easter Vigil from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and in the absence of light and thousands of people assemble in the church building for the Vigil. Clothes made up like butterflies, flowers, banana trees and other symbols of spring are used to decorate the church along with Vitenge and Kanga.
Music and dance are a part of the celebrations as well. Hymns are accompanied by drums, women ululating and traditional dances. The celebrations continue at home with lavish feasts that include boiled or roasted rice with meat and chicken. Since meat is scarce in Africa this is indeed a special occasion.
Easter Customs In Europe
Easter is celebrated with great pomp across Europe. In England, Easter eggs and other gifts are exchanged. Local community centers hold Best Bonnet competitions for children. Hot cross buns are a popular food on Good Friday.
The French call it Paques. Church bells do not ring for three days from Good Friday to Easter Morning. Children look for ‘bells flying back to Rome’ on Easter morning while the adults hide eggs for them to find.
Italians call it La Pasqua. The Paschal feast is celebrated in a big way with Agnellino or roasted baby lamb. Special bread shaped like a crown and studded with decorated Easter egg candies is also a specialty.
Germans call it Ostern. Germans light a huge bonfire on Easter as a symbol of the end of a long winter and any ill feelings one may harbor. Girls present their suitors with a red egg.
The Dutch call it Pasen or Pasen Zontag. Sweetbread stuffed with raisins and currant is an Easter specialty.
The Swedish call it Paskdagen. Egg coloring parties are organized in every household. Fireworks are popular on Easter.
Easter Customs In Australia
Australians celebrate Easter with as much enthusiasm as the rest of the world. The Easter feast traditionally consists of roast lamb, beef or chicken with some vegetables like potatoes, carrots and pumpkins.
On Easter Sunday people visit the church and have hot cross buns for breakfast. Many games are organized around the Easter egg and the Easter bunny. In recent time, the Easter bilbies have made an appearance as well to help protect this endangered species.
Thus, Easter is celebrated in grand fashion across the globe!
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