Today is Easter Sunday, the day that Christians celebrate Jesus' resurrection after his crucifixion on Good Friday (good because he died for the sins of mankind, and thereby assured redemption from the original sin of Adam and Eve). This is a day of rejoicing after the somberness of Lenten preparations for Easter, and the passion of Christ--from His arrival in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, celebrated on Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter), to His betrayal by Judas, and trial by the Romans and the Jewish leaders, His punishments and humiliations and then death on the Cross, and then His entombment.
Easter, or more specifically Holy Week, is a religious festival for all Christians, and in fact the most important celebration of the Christian calendar, in religious terms. In certain countries, particularly Catholic, Orthodox, and Mediterranean ones, it is a far greater traditional celebration than is Christmas. Easter Sunday is a time attend religious services to celebrate with others the joy of the Resurrection.
Easter is also a time of celebration of the signs of Spring, of nature awakening from the dead of winter. A moveable feast, it is sometimes in March at the very beginning of Spring (the Vernal Equinox), and at other times in April when Spring is (supposedly) well established. This year it is particularly late in April, yet due to unusual weather, in some parts of North American it is far from Spring-like.
Still, in other parts, and in various places around the world, Spring is well established, with flowers blooming in the warmer, more sun-filled days.
Nonetheless, all seem to be happy to celebrate the Spring aspects of Easter, with flowers, fashions, and gifts from the Easter Bunny, a traditional and pre-Christian symbol of Spring's fertility, who delivers other fertility symbols, notably eggs--coloured, and chocolate--in baskets, nests, and sometimes accompanied by toys.
Most often the Easter Bunny seems to pass in the night, so that children arise to an Easter egg hunt for the treats he has left in their home. In some traditions the weekend is also a time for Easter egg colouring, and hunts, or Easter egg rolls.
This past week, I asked a member of the university cleaning staff, who regularly cleans my office, if the Easter Bunny would be coming to her house this year. She told me no, that they were Muslim (which I knew), and I replied that the Easter Bunny is for everyone, especially everyone who likes chocolate! Later, when we passed in the hall again, she said she now realized what I had meant, and that her 10-year-old son sometimes receives something from a classmate, or makes something at school.
Later that day I gave her a dozen Lindt chocolate eggs nested in a small tin decorated with Easter bunnies and flowers. The nesting material was shredded mauve coloured paper, and the tin was mauve with yellow and green motifs that were fanciful but not childish. I thought it was sufficiently "grown up", non-religious, and yet "boyish" enough that it would be acceptable to her son and the family. I told her it was for her son on Easter to share with the family. She was very surprised, and pleased. She thanked me and gave me a hug in return. I'd call that a fair trade.
Happy Easter to All!
To those who celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus!
To those who celebrate Spring!
To those who celebrate Chocolate!
For more information on the religious and cultural celebrations of Easter around the world, see these related posts:
Passover, Pasqua, and Pilgrimage: Yeshua, Jesus, and Isa
Cross Cultural Easter Celebrations: The Easter Bunny, His Eggs, and Chocolate!
For more information on the Spring (Vernal Equinox)connections with Easter, see also these related posts:
The Vernal Equinox: Springtime in Saudi and the Equinoctial Day and Night that Join Us All
March Equinox 2011--A Supermoon Bonus!--NB: This post was blurking in the drafts when it should have been among the published posts. I have now published it at its originally scheduled time. Check out the great photos of the "Supermoon".
For more on Spring festivals and flowers, see also this related post:
Rabih Festival (Spring Festival) in Dammam, Saudi Arabia; and Other Floral Celebrations
Did the Easter Bunny come to your house?
What other celebrations have you participated in this Easter?
Religious? Secular--egg roll, egg hunt, gift-giving, Spring hike, Spring planting?
Still on a chocolate high?
Other thoughts, comments, impressions, experiences?