Friday, February 25, 2022

7 Easter Traditions and Their Origins


We celebrate Easter to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus. He died on the cross on Good Friday and rose again on Easter Sunday and the celebration of Easter has been taking place in the Christian world ever since.

Over the last 2,000 years, a lot of traditions have been created around this important festival, but some have come into existence more recently than others. Here are seven Easter traditions that are celebrated today and their origins.

Hot Cross Buns

It is obvious where the idea of the cross on the hot cross bun originates from but what about the bun itself? In early Christian times, it is thought that these buns were made without using dairy products as these were forbidden until the end of Lent. It is believed that the spices were later added to the bun to represent the embalming of Jesus and the orange peel is said to represent the bitterness of his time on the cross. However, modern hot cross bun recipes have only appeared in print since the end of the Victorian period in around the 1880s.

Painting Easter Eggs

Easter eggs are said to represent the rebirth of Jesus. However, it is believed that they were a symbol of springtime and new life before the time of Christ and that Christians adopted this tradition from earlier times. According to some tales, Mary Magdalene brought eggs to the crucifixion and when the blood of Christ fell on them, they were dyed red, thus marking the start of painting the eggs.

Other legends suggest that the eggs were taken to Jesus’ tomb to be shared with the other women two days after Jesus’ death. When the stone was rolled back, and the tomb was found to be empty, the eggs turned red.

This tradition has evolved over the centuries, and in the 19th century, it became popular to exchange chocolate eggs on Easter Sunday. Confectioners decided to make them hollow rather than solid as this makes them much easier to eat and it reduces the price.

The Exchange of Easter Cards and Messages

Religious easter greetings are as old as religion itself, but it is no surprise that the rise of sending Easter cards has risen in line with the ability to send items in the post. The postal system started in the middle of the 18th Century and since then people have been sending each other Easter cards. Religious easter greetings are one of the most popular types of greeting card and these days many people are turning to the expertise and personal service offered by companies like Greenvelope, who offer personalized and digital religious Easter greetings, meaning that you can find the perfect Easter message for friends and loved ones and you don’t even have to put it in the post box.

Easter Lilies

Lilies are used to represent Easter and every year churches are decorated with these popular flowers. They represent the purity of Jesus and his resurrection.

Sunrise Services

Sunrise services are held in churches across America to celebrate the time at which Mary Magdalene is believed to have opened Jesus’ tomb and found it empty. This became a tradition in central Europe in the 1700s and quickly spread to the USA. These services are still held early on Easter Sunday and are attended by thousands of Christians.

Easter Parades

Arguably the most famous Easter parade is the one that has taken place in New York City since the middle of the 19th century. In the early days, it was a time when the toast of New York society would attend the morning church service and then parade around afterward showing off their new Easter clothing and bonnets. It became extremely popular for the rest of the New York population to turn out to watch the glitterati of the age parade around.

This is still a massive parade in New York and every year part of Manhattan is closed to traffic so that the parade can take place and still features participants in elaborate hats and bonnets. Other cities have followed suit and now cities across America hold their own Easter parades.

Roast Lamb

Jesus is called the ‘Lamb of God,’ so it is symbolic that lamb is the meat of choice for the celebration of Easter. It is believed to have started in the Jewish religion but has been adopted by Christians who eat this meat as they want their homes to be blessed by God at this time of year. Historically, lamb was one of the first meats available in spring after a long winter.

Easter is a hugely significant time in the Christian calendar, so it is not surprising that so many of the traditions we still uphold at this time of the year have their roots in religion.


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