Easter Traditions…..

“Traaaaadiiiitiiioioioioioioioinnnnnnnn!  Tradition!”

{I can’t even write that word without singing the

song from Fiddler on the Roof!}

If you have not seen that particular broadway musical….

by all means, go out and rent it.

I’m not very traditional;

but I like traditions….creating them, learning their

history, and having them for my family.

Did you know the history of these Easter traditions?

“Traaaaadiiiitiiioioioioioioioinnnnnnnn!  Tradition!”

{Oh, excuse me, it’s just habit.}


[The following definitions/explanations came from the Homeward site….great site for families, by the way!]

Easter Symbols. Around the second century, Christian missionaries seeking to convert the tribes of Northern Europe realized that the time of the crucifixion of Jesus roughly coincided with local springtime celebrations, which emphasized the triumph of life over death. The evangelists seized the opportunity to connect with their traditions to teach the true power of the resurrection.

Easter Eggs. Easter eggs first appeared when Greek Christians painted eggs bright red to resemble the blood of Christ. Hollow eggs were later decorated with pictures of Jesus and the apostles.
Easter Egg Hunts. Easter egg hunts began in Europe when eggs of different colors were taken from the nests of various birds. The search through the woods for eggs gradually evolved into today’s popular activity.
Easter Baskets. Easter baskets were originally intended to resemble birds’ nests that held the eggs.
Easter Cards. Easter cards arrived in Victorian England, when a stationer added a greeting to a drawing of a rabbit. The cards were quickly in demand and continued to grow in popularity through the years.
Chocolate Bunnies. Chocolate Bunnies first appeared in Germany. Later, immigrants took the custom to Pennsylvania. As Easter celebrations became more common after the Civil War, the custom of Chocolate Eggs took hold.
New Clothes at Easter. After their baptisms, early Christians wore white robes all through Easter week to indicate their new lives. Those who had already been baptized wore new clothes to symbolize their sharing a new life with Christ.
Easter Parades. In medieval Europe, churchgoers would take a walk after Easter Mass. Today, these walks endure as Easter Parades.
[The following explanations came from FactMonster.]

Ancient Spring Goddess

According to the Venerable Bede, Easter derives its name from Eostre, an Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. A month corresponding to April had been named “Eostremonat,” or Eostre’s month, leading to “Easter” becoming applied to the Christian holiday that usually took place within it. Prior to that, the holiday had been called Pasch (Passover), which remains its name in most non-English languages.

(Based on the similarity of their names, some connect Eostre with Ishtar, the Babylonian and Assyrian goddess of love and fertility, but there is no solid evidence for this.)

It seems probable that around the second century A.D., Christian missionaries seeking to convert the tribes of northern Europe noticed that the Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus roughly coincided with the Teutonic springtime celebrations, which emphasized the triumph of life over death. Christian Easter gradually absorbed the traditional symbols.

Easter Eggs

In Medieval Europe, eggs were forbidden during Lent. Eggs laid during that time were often boiled or otherwise preserved. Eggs were thus a mainstay of Easter meals, and a prized Easter gift for children and servants.

In addition, eggs have been viewed as symbols of new life and fertility through the ages. It is believed that for this reason many ancient cultures, including the Ancient EgyptiansPersians, and Romans, used eggs during their spring festivals.

Many traditions and practices have formed around Easter eggs. The coloring of eggs is a established art, and eggs are often dyed, painted, and otherwise decorated. Eggs were also used in various holiday games: parents would hide eggs for children to find, and children would roll eggs down hills. These practices live on in Easter egg hunts and egg rolls. The most famous egg roll takes place on the White House lawn every year.

Different Traditions

Orthodox Christians in the Middle East and in Greece painted eggs bright red to symbolize the blood of Christ. Hollow eggs (created by piercing the shell with a needle and blowing out the contents) were decorated with pictures of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and other religious figures in Armenia.

Germans gave green eggs as gifts on Holy Thursday, and hung hollow eggs on trees. Austrians placed tiny plants around the egg and then boiled them. When the plants were removed, white patterns were created.

Artistic Creations

The most elaborate Easter egg traditions appear to have emerged in Eastern Europe. In Poland and Ukraine, eggs were often painted silver and gold. Pysanky (to design or write) eggs were created by carefully applying wax in patterns to an egg. The egg was then dyed, wax would be reapplied in spots to preserve that color, and the egg was boiled again in other shades. The result was a multi-color striped or patterned egg.

The Easter Bunny

Hares and rabbits have long been symbols of fertility. The inclusion of the hare into Easter customs appears to have originated in Germany, where tales were told of an “Easter hare” who laid eggs for children to find. German immigrants to America — particularly Pennsylvania — brought the tradition with them and spread it to a wider public. They also baked cakes for Easter in the shape of hares, and may have pioneered the practice of making chocolate bunnies and eggs.

Now…run out and get Fiddler on the Roof.  It has nothing to do with Easter…but will be fun anyway.
“If I were a rich man woman…biddddeeeee, bidddeeee, bidddeee, biddddeeeee, biddddeeeee, bum!”

6 thoughts on “Easter Traditions…..

  1. I have the same problem with the word Trraddiittiioonn! I have the same problem with several words and phrases…I’m Tired…from Blazing Saddles! Money…two come to mind from Mama Mia and Caberet!
    Lovely explaination of the traditions surrounding Easter. With my sons being older now our traditions center around church…new shirt (if they have grown…pants!) and a large bowl of goodies instead of individual baskets. Our Easter Dinner is a constant! We will celebrate my sons birthday as it falls in Easter this year. Have a great day!
    Peach State

  2. Love this post. Thanks for sharing so much wonderful information about traditionnnnnnnnn! Yep, now I am singing that in my head. Great musical.

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