Julian Calender). It is usually set the first Sunday after the full moon which occurs after Spring Equinox – March 21. The Spring Equinox represents the time and date the sun crosses the celestial equator around the 22 September and 20 March. The word equinox relates from the medieval Latin term equinoxium.
Easter eggs are bought as gifts and given on Easter Sunday. There are games for children like the Easter egg hunt. The Easter bunny is a mythical attraction for young children who believe the Easter bunny delivers the eggs; just like Father Christmas dropping down every chimney pot in the world delivering all those presents! Both celebrations are magical for young children and their colourful imaginations.
Hot cross buns are another Easter food, representing the cross Jesus was crucified on; originally they were a breakfast time tradition, hot from the oven.
The Easter celebrations incorporate other days like Shrove Tuesday which is all about eating pancakes. In Scotland this is termed as Bannock Day and the French refer to it as Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). Traditionally it was a time to use up all the butter, milk and eggs that were left on the kitchen shelf. It is also a Christian time to confess all sins before Ash Wednesday and receive absolution. There are pancake races where competitors attempt to toss the pancakes up as many times as possible while trying to cross the winning line.
Lent starts forty days before Easter beginning on Ash Wednesday. The earliest date this can be is February 4 and the latest is 10 March. This year, it will fall on 21 April. It is a time of self-reproach abstinence and fasting in readiness for Easter. For Christians the ashes represent something they are sorry for doing and want to be free from. It is also a time to remember that we all come from ashes and to ashes we will return. People who attend the religious service on Ash Wednesday will receive the mark of the cross in ash on the forehead.
Maundy Thursday marks the day of the last supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles. It is also the night in which Jesus was betrayed by Judas in the garden of Gethsemane. ‘Maundy’ is from the Latin word “Mandatum,” meaning a commandment. Jesus give this commandment at the last supper. ‘And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’ John 13:34.
Good Friday is the day Jesus was arrested by the brutal Roman soldiers. He was flogged and beaten relentlessly then a crown of large thorns was viciously forced upon his head. He was then made to carry his own cross outside the city of Skull Hill. Jesus had become so weakened by his torture that a man named Simon was wrenched from the crowd to carry the cross the rest of the way. Jesus was crucified with two criminals whose crosses were placed either side and above his head a sign declared “King of the Jews.” Jesus died at 3.00 p.m.
It is a time to remember that Jesus give himself to save us and to reflect on what we value in life most. Human kindness costs nothing. We should remember those words Jesus said to the Apostles: ‘love one another.’
Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful Easter.