Heartwings Love Notes 1079 Easter Customs Make the Celebration

Heartwings says, ” Colorful Easter echoes with spring.”

Like Christmas, Easter has accumulated a number of customs, and it has its roots in a more diverse past than that embraced by religious Christians. The first official celebrations by Christians began with the Council of Nicaea, in 325 when the date of Easter was established as being set for the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Equinox. It is called a “moveable feast,” as opposed to Christmas or Halloween that are fixed, on the same day every year.

Many of our Easter customs, like many of our Christmas ones, come from the people of Germany and their traditions. Colored Easter eggs, for instance have been found in burial sites there that date back to the bronze age. The Germans who settled in Pennsylvania brought their Easter and Spring customs with them to this country and they spread from there. One of these was that the Easter Hare (aka for us rabbit) both laid and hid the colored eggs that the children hunted for on Easter morning or found in the nests they made for them in their hats and bonnets.

The Easter bunny, originally a hare, is an integral part of the holiday. Chocolate bunnies begin to appear right after Valentine’s Day, both in food markets and drugstores. The fertile rabbit is a fitting symbol for a springtime celebration. Easter named for the Saxon goddess of spring and fertility, Eostre, is part of the collection of lore around the season. Like winter, the solstice and Christmas, Easter, Spring, and the Vernal Equinox associated with it, have been celebrated long before the advent of Christianity. Our bunny rabbit has a similar association.

The hare, a cousin of the bunny rabbit, is the original animal associated with spring.  It is associated with and sacred to the moon. Hares are larger than rabbits and fiercer, known for engaging in fights and, unlike rabbits, who live and give birth in underground burrows, are born in nests above the ground. Born in the spring, they emerge with their eyes open, able to fend for themselves very soon. The gentle rabbit is far more appropriate as a pet, because the hare is not easily domesticated. They are a food source as well and are often hunted or trapped for that purpose.

The wearing of new clothes for Easter is another symbolic act. It speaks to the custom of seeing spring as a new beginning; new clothes are a part of that. There is a superstition that it is good luck to have at least three new items to be worn for the celebration of Easter. The Easter parade of song and story, is still a tradition as well. Best clothes are worn and animals are even dressed up and wheeled or walked in New York City and other places that hold an Easter parade.

Easter is a delightful time to enjoy and affirm the advent of spring, a fine opportunity for all to gather in celebration.

“May your celebrations be joyous no matter when they are held.”

Blessings and Best Regards, Tasha Halpert

P.S. Do you have any Easter memories to share? I so enjoy your emails and comments. Please write to me at tashahal@gmail.com with any thoughts, stories or suggestions.

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