It's the big Easter weekend again over here in England and yet again Easter eggs appeared on sale in the shops here in February! I'm sure it gets earlier every year as Easter, (like every other holiday), gets more and more commercialised.
A couple of foreign visitors asked if I could explain about the origins of Easter. Well for them and anybody else interested, here goes.
The pagan origins of Easter are thought to derive from Eostre (or Oestre as it’s sometimes spelt), a fertility godess. As the egg is the symbol of fertility and rebirth, this is where the custom of Easter eggs came from. Easter bunnies too originate from here as rabbits are very fertile creatures. Easter egg rolling is also popular at this time of year. In some areas of England, it still continues today, usually on Easter Monday. This is symbolic in Christian tradition of the stone being rolled away from Christ’s tomb. Spring and Easter is traditionally a time of rebirth.
Even though Easter has become commercialised now, we mustn’t forget it’s true meaning. In Christianity, Maundy Thursday recalls the Last Supper, the agony in the garden and Jesus’s arrest. For centuries, people in authority have washed the feet of their followers on this day. In England, the Queen traditionally presents “Maundy” money to pensioners (nominated by clergy of various denominations), for their service to the church. Good Friday remembers Jesus’s death on the cross and how he died to save us all. Easter Saturday is the final day of Lent. Easter Sunday celebrates Jesus’s resurrection. Happy Easter Everybody!