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April 21, 2011 / Donna

HAPPY EASTER – Easter Facts

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Miscellaneous Easter Comments

~Magickal Graphics~

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Where did the name Easter come from?

Eastre, a pagan goddess whose festivals (called Eastron) were in the spring season. The festival represented the rising of the sun, new life and a new beginning. Also related are the words East, the directions of the rising sun and yeast, a substance which makes bread rise.

When Christianity came to northern Europe, the resurrection of the Lord fit into the tradition of new life and a rising and hence called Eastre of Easter by the people. The German word for Easter, “Osteren” is also similar in origin, Ost being East. In most other European languages the word for the Easter festival is taken from the name of the Jewish Passover – Pesach in Hebrew then Pascha in Greek and Latin, Pasqua in Italian, Pacques in French, Pascua in Spanish. From this the English Paschal derived, as in the Pascal Lamb.

When is Easter?

The most commonly stated rule for determining the date of Easter is that it is the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the vernal equinox. This means that in Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, Lutheran, and Protestant churches, Easter can fall as early as March 22 and as late as April 25.

Where did the Easter Bunny come from?

The bunny as an Easter symbol seems to have its origins in Germany, where it was first mentioned in German writings in the 1500s. The first edible Easter bunnies were made in Germany during the early 1800s. These were made of pastry and sugar.

The Easter bunny was introduced to American folklore by the German settlers who arrived in the Pennsylvania Dutch country during the 1700s. The arrival of the “Oschter Haws” was considered “childhood’s greatest pleasure” next to a visit from Christ-Kindel on Christmas Eve. The children believed that if they were good the “Oschter Haws” would lay a nest of colored eggs

What is the meaning of the Easter lilies?

Easter lilies come from Bermuda.  They were brought to America from the island in the 1880s. They’re now associated with Easter because it grows from a bulb that is “buried” and “reborn.”

What is the meaning of the egg at Easter?

The egg has always been a symbol of the Resurrection to Christians.

To Egyptians, the egg was a sacred token of the renovation of mankind after the Flood.

The custom of giving eggs at Easter time has been traced back to Egyptians, Persians, Gauls, Greeks and Romans, to whom the egg was a symbol of life.

The traditional act of painting eggs is called Pysanka.

In the United States Easter is celebrated with a large Easter Egg Hunt by children on the White House Lawn.

To the Jews, the egg marked the time of their departure from the land of Egypt.

In medieval times a festival of egg throwing was held in church, during which the priest would throw a hard-boiled egg to one of the choirboys. It was then tossed from one choirboy to the next and whoever held the egg when the clock struck 12 was the winner and retained the egg.

What other symbols are there for Easter?

The first Easter baskets were made to look like bird’s nests.

Easter Bonnets are a throw back to the days when the people denied themselves the pleasure of wearing finery for the duration of Lent.

The date of Passover is variable as it is dependent on the phases of the moon, and thus Easter is also a movable feast.

Every year at Easter Pope John Paul sends his ” Urbi et Orbi* ” to the world.

Some Churches still keep up the old tradition of using evergreens – symbolic of eternal life – embroidered in red on white, or woven in straw, but most now prefer displays of flowers in the spring colours of green, yellow and white.

By tradition, it was obligatory (or at least lucky) for churchgoers to wear some bright new piece of clothing – at least an Easter bonnet, if not a complete new outfit.

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Happy Easter to you and yours

Donna

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*: Definition:
The Latin phrase “urbi et orbi” literally means “to the city and to the world.” It has come to be used as the name for a specific type of blessing given by the pope on particularly solemn occasions. What is means is that the “urbi et orbi” address or blessing is not directly simply at the city of Rome and the people present, but rather to the entire Roman Catholic world, wherever the individuals may be.

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Sources:  Christianity Today, Wikipedia, Happy-Easter.com, St. Paul’s Kingsville.com

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