♥ Easter as told by our students ♥
Every country has a different way to celebrate Easter and in this blog our students are going to describe their traditions and how they celebrate this important time of year.
Easter time in Thuringia Germany or rather, how to throw eggs by Lisa
Yes, you have read it correctly. It ́s a tradition to throw eggs during the holidays. In Germany Easter is celebrated in a big way. But let ́s begin with the preparation.
Often smaller children prepare the eggs together with their parents. They clear them out by blowing through two holes and paint them afterwards with pens, watercolours or glitter. Some weeks in advance you can buy a bunch of willows or forsythia (they bloom early) and attach your painted eggs to them. It is also very common to have decorations in your house, for example rabbits made of wood, painted eggs or bunches of flowers. For smaller children (and sometimes adults) you can buy a calendar filled with chocolate which you open everyday Easter Sunday. On Good Friday it is also very common to only eat vegetables or fish. Meat represents the body of Jesus Christ and shouldn’t be eaten on this day based on Christianity.
The holidays really start on Easter Sunday. For young women it is a very old custom to get up very early in the morning, go to a small creek and take Easterwater with you to stay healthy or wash yourself to stay young and pretty. Because of the growing cities most of young women can ́t do that so this custom is getting lost sadly. My great grandma and all previous generations always did this until they found a husband and got married. After that parents or other adults from your close family hide eggs or small gifts outside in the garden close to trees, bushes or windows. Sometimes it rains or perhaps snows during the day – then you can hide these small things in your house or flat. It ́s not really important to give big or expensive presents to children, only small ones. Then the children (sometimes adults still continue this tradition… me as well) search everywhere to find everything that is hidden. It ́s important to count the eggs before you hide them. Very often we find that we (my family) have forgotten one or two eggs and several weeks later we notice a terrible smell in the garden! Just a hint. Typically after searching for the eggs we have a trip to a restaurant where everyone comes together and celebrates Easter. You sit together and eat lunch. In Thuringia and Saxony, it is very famous to eat lamb or meat in black beer together with green dumplings made from potatoes. These delicious dumplings are famous all over Germany but only Thuringian knows how cook them originally. Afterwards the whole family might then visit a special place like a castle which is called “Osterburg” (Easter Castle)
or a big park or meadows – even when it rains or snows. You have a long walk together with your family, catch up with family members who aren ́t often at home or you can ́t often speak with. It ́s really important for us to stay very close together, speak a lot and have a good time. During your walk you might stop and have a coffee, tea or sometimes a small shot with eggs and cream or other shots (only for adults – of course!). The children start to take special nets and painted boiled eggs. Theses eggs are prepared with the parents in advance. (You take leaves from your garden, put one or two of them on the egg and put them into vinegar, food dye or red onionskin) They put the eggs inside the net, close it and with a rope which is attached on the net they throw it in the air. You have to throw the egg very high, because you are only allowed to eat it, if it is broken. During the years you get a feeling for this and is usual that some nets might fall in a tree where you have to pick them out. It is a lot of fun! So not only children do this – all members of the family from a small child of three years up to grandmas in their 70s are doing this together. Often you sit together eat and throw the eggs, have a coffee and have a good time. Then it is very common that you hide (grandmas/ grandpas/ aunts/ uncles…) eggs again or give baskets to children with small presents, painted boiled eggs, chocolate and candy. At dinnertime you go also all together to a restaurant and have a meal. Once the sun has set and everybody often meets up in their village, community or part of the city to have a big fire where you also stay together and (only for adults) you drink beer, wine, shots and shots with of eggs and cream again. At the end of the day you can ́t be hungry or see any eggs – trust me. But we enjoy these traditions very much. There is no need for expensive presents, it is just important to spend time with friend and family drinking a bit, eating a lot and having a good time.
Easter in Italy – Traditions and Events by Alex
The weeks before and after Easter represent a very special time of the year for all Italians. Many cities and villages host ceremonies and events whose origins can be traced back hundreds or thousands of years while people prepare meals based on “secret” family recipes handed down from generation to generation.
For all Italians, Easter “week-end” begins on Thursday remembering the Last Dinner of Jesus with the 12 Apostles.
The most emotional celebrations and events usually happen on Good Friday when many cities host ceremonies recalling events related to the Passion of Christ and when priests bless homes and buildings. All of churches’ bells are fastened on Friday and no bells will ring until the Resurrection of Christ.
Holy Saturday is a very “quiet” day. Italians spend most of the time with their children and relatives getting ready for Easter and cooking.
Each region has its own typical set of traditional Easter dishes. However, roasted lamb,“Colomba di Pasqua” (Easter dove),
and chocolate Easter eggs make the list of almost every household’s Easter meal.
Holy Saturday ends usually at church with a long and elaborate evening mass. At midnight, all the bells are “released” to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ.
Easter Sunday and Monday are all dedicated to family events and elaborate meals.
On Easter Monday also called Monday of the Angel, Italians celebrate the discovery by the Holy Women that Jesus is no longer in his grave, traditionally during this day Italians go in the countryside for a pick-nick with the family.
Easter in Russia – Get your eggs ready by Alina
Easter is one of Russia’s most important holidays and is usually celebrated in spring. The date varies each and every year since the Orthodox community follows the Gregorian / Lunar calendar. This year’s Easter festivities fall on the 1st May, the Great Lent will be held before from from the 14th March until the 30th April.
On Easter Sunday people usually go to church, prepare amazing meals and celebrate with the whole family. The main symbol of Eater celebrations would be the egg. The last week of the Great Lent is called “passionate” and that week’s Thursday is called “pure” in remembrance of the Last Supper. On this day people start preparing the meals, baking pastry and colouring eggs. Furthermore you will be doing a lot of cleaning, your house has to shine and be completely free from the dust and dirt left by the murky winter days. People would also get up before sunrise and bath in fresh water to sybolically purify themselves from sin and troubles.
During the night from Saturday to Easter Sunday the community will gather for an evening service at church and spend the night there praying with the priests, blessing the eggs and pastries that people have brought. Afterwards people meet up with their family and friends to have a huge feast.
When you meet people on this day, it is common to greet each other with “Христос воскрес” – “Воистину воскрес”, “Christ has risen” – “He truly has arisen”.
We also have a lovely game for young and old where you will take your eggs and smack them against each other with the pointy side. The one whose egg remains undamaged wins and enjoys treats.
Happy Easter everyone!