Sunday, 23 March 2008


readingIn this time of Easter, a lot of people celebrate this know festivity, but few know the real meaning of the Easter eggs or the Easter bunny..., so I decided show you few of all traditions of this time of the year that in some cases unknown and with which I hope we learn a lot of things. I hope you like it, and happy Easter!

The story of Easter
Easter is the time of spring festivals. In Christian countries Easter is celebrate as the religious holiday that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the son of God.
But the celebrations of Easter has many customs and legends that are pagan in origin and they haven't any relation with Christianity.
The scholars accept the derivation proposed by the 8th century English scholar St. Bede, they believe that the name Easter come from the Scandinavian "Ostra" and the Teutonic "Ostern" or "Eastre," two Goddesses of mythology that signify spring and fertility whose festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox.
The Christian celebration of Easter has a number of traditions that are relationed with the Easter to the Jewish festival of Passover, or Pesach, from which is derived Pasch, another name used by Europeans for Easter.
Passover is an important festivity in the Jewish calendar which is celebrated during 8 days and celebrates the flight and freedom of the Israelites from its slavery in Egypt.
The first Christians, many of them had a Jewish origin, were brought up in the Hebrew tradition and they considered Easter as a new caracteristic of the Passover festival, a commemoration of the coming of the Messiah an event that the prophets told.
Easter is celebrated by the churches of the West the first Sunday following the full moon that happens after the spring equinox (March 2I). So Easter became a movable festivity which can be celebrated as very early the 22nd March or as very late the 25th April .
The christian churches of the East which were closer to the birthplace of the new religion and where old traditions were strong, celebrate Easter according to the date of the Passover festival.
Easter is at the end of the Lenten season, that covers a forty-six-day period that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter.
The Lenten season is comprised by forty days, because the six Sundays in Lent are not actually a part of Lent, so Sundays are considered a commemoration of Easter Sunday and have always been excluded from the Lenten. The Lenten season is a period of penitence in preparation for the most important festival that the church celebrates every year, Easter.
Holy Week, the last week of Lent, begins with the celebration of Palm Sunday. That day takes its name from the Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem where the people laid palms at his feet. Holy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, which was celebrated the evening before the Crucifixion. Friday in Holy Week is the anniversary of the Crufixion, the day that Christ was crucified and died on the cross. Holy week and the Lenten season end with Easter Sunday, the day of resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Why Easter eggs?
Of all the symbols associated with Easter the egg, the symbol of fertility and new life, is the most identifiable. The customs and traditions of using eggs have been associated with Easter for centuries.

Originally Easter eggs were painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring and were used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as gifts.
After they were colored and etched with various designs, the eggs were used like presents by a lot of people : they were exchanged by lovers and romantic admirers, similar to St. valentine ;in medieval time eggs were traditionally given at Easter to the servants;in Germany eggs were given to children along with other Easter gifts...
Different cultures have developed their own ways of decorate Easter eggs: Crimson eggs, to honor the blood of Christ, are exchanged in Greece; in parts of Germany and Austria green eggs are used on Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday); Slavic peoples decorated their eggs with incredible colors like gold and silver.
In Germany and other countries eggs are used for cooking where are not broken, but the contents were removed by the end of each egg with a needle and blowing the contents into a bowl.
The hollow eggs were dyed and hung from shrubs and trees during the Easter Week.
The Armenians would decorate hollow eggs with pictures of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and other religious designs.
The custom of hiding eggs painted on the field or in the gardens of the houses, for the joy of children who have to find themselves, continued in many countries, including the United States. Curiously in the gardens of the White House Easter Day there happen a singular career where kids have to roll eggs. Win who reaches farther without breaking them.

That´s the story of the Easter eggs, but there are also Easter eggs that are very different that lasts...
A virtual Easter egg is an intentional hidden message or feature in an object such as a movie, book, CD, DVD, computer program, or video game.
The term draws a parallel with the custom of the Easter egg hunt observed in many western nations.
This practice is used to hide, but also to show the signature of the author in some place or moment of their works, as Diego Rivera (a world-famous Mexican painter) including himself in his murals or Alfred Hitchcock's legendary cameo appearances.
An early example of these kind of "Easter eggs" is Al Hirschfeld's "Nina".
Albert Hirschfeld was a Jewish American caricaturist best known for his simple black and white satirical portraits of celebrities and Broadway stars.
Hirschfeld is known for hiding the name of his daughter, Nina, in most of the drawings he produced since her birth in 1945.

Here you can see a drawing of Al Hirschfeld where he hid the name of his daughter in a sleeve.
You can have a good moment while you try to find the five Ninas hidden in this drawing:

Atari's Adventure, released in 1979, contained what is thought to be the first video game "Easter egg": the name of the programmer (Warren Robinett).
If you want see this “Easter egg” where appear the name of the programmer in the video game, click on the next link:
Easter egg on the Atari´s Adventure video game

The Easter Bunny
The Easter Bunny is a mythological rabbit who brings gifts and candy to children on the Easter holiday, that is based on pre-Christian customs honoring the fertility goddess Eostre.
Rabbits and hares, are fertility symbols from a long time ago.Since birds lay eggs and rabbits and hares give birth to large litters in the beginning of the spring, these became symbols of the fertility of the earth at the Vernal Equinox.
The bunny as an Easter symbol have its origins in Germany, where it was first mentioned in German writings in the 1500s. The Easter bunny was introduced to American folklore by the German settlers that arrived in the Pennsylvania Dutch country during the 1700s.
The first edible Easter bunnies were made in Germany during the early 1800s. And were made of pastry and sugar.
The arrival of the "Oschter Haws" was considered one of the greatest pleasures of the life of a child. The children believed that if they were good the "Oschter Haws" he will bring they a nest of colored eggs.
The children built their nest in a sure place in the home, the barn or the garden. The boys would use their caps and the girls their bonnets to make the nests. The use of elaborate Easter baskets would come later as one of the traditions of the Easter in all the country.

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