Easter is a very important Christian festivity; on Easter day Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon in March (between 20 March and 30 April).
The Origin of the word Easter probably comes from the Scandinavian "Ostra" and the Teutonic "Ostern" or "Eastre" [E1] [I1] both Goddesses of mythology signifying spring and fertility whose festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox.During pagan life, nature and seasons were considered very important, and spring used to be celebrated as the beginning of the new life with special festivals and symbols.
When Christianity became important, the Christian Easter slowly replaced the pagan festivals. Anyway some symbols of the pagan festivals remained, such as flowers and coloured eggs, who ancient pagans gave to the goddess Eastre.
In Pagan times the egg represented the rebirth of the earth. The long, hard winter was over; the earth burst forth and was reborn just as the egg miraculously burst forth with life. The egg, therefore, was believed to have special powers. With the advent of Christianity the symbolism of the egg changed to represent, not nature's rebirth, but the rebirth of man. Christians embraced the egg symbol and likened it to the tomb from which Christ rose.
The Christian celebration of Easter embodies a number of converging traditions and it has a relation to the Jewish festival of Passover [E1] or Pesach, from which is derived Pasch, another name used by Europeans for Easter.
Easter is at the end of the Lenten season, which covers a forty-six-day period that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter. Holy Week, the last week of Lent, begins with the observance of Palm Sunday, which name derives from Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem where the crowds laid palms at his feet. Holy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, which was held the evening before the Crucifixion. Friday in Holy Week is the anniversary of the Crufixion, the day that Christ was crucified and died on the cross. Holy week and the Lenten season end with Easter Sunday, the day of resurrection of Jesus Christ. During Lent time some Christians don’t eat some of their favorite food. In Great Britain and America many Christians go the church on Good Friday and Easter morning.
An Easter tradition is to wear new cloths and new shoes. In many American cities there are Easter Bonnet parades. Probably the most famous is the New York city Parade on Fifth Avenue. Before Easter Day, American and British children paint Easter eggs with bright colours and designs. Long ago German immigrants introduced the tradition of the Easter Bunny and basket eggs. On Easter day there are Easter eggs hunts. Parents say to their children that the Easter Bunny hides many eggs in the park, and they should find them and put them into a basket. The child with the most eggs is the winner. There is another funny game that children usually play on Easter Monday they have to roll an egg down a hill. If the egg arrive at the bottom and it is not broken then that child is the winner. There is a very famous egg-rolling competition which takes place outside the White House in Washington USA, the presidents of USA invites children to roll eggs on the grass outside the White House. At Easter time there are chocolate eggs and sugar eggs to eat. Some of the eggs have a surprise in them: a little game for children.
Class activity to test comprehension:
Are these sentences True or False?
1. Germans immigrants introduced the tradition of Easter bunny.
2. On Easter Monday in America there is a traditional Ester egg hunt
3. During Lent some people stop eating foods they like.
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