Easter Traditions

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The tradition of eating fish on good Friday began hundreds of years ago when the catholic church decided that people shouldn’t eat warm blooded meat on Friday in remembrance of Jesus.  Seeing as we’re not good at following rules, the people started eating fish instead.

In the 1500’s the King broke away from the catholic traditions after they disallowed his divorce and declared that eating fish on Friday was a sign of rebellion against him.

The fishmongers didn’t like this and the fishing industry became so bad that they eventually reinstated the rule of eating fish on Friday’s to save the fishing industry.

Eating fish on Good Friday – or any Friday is not a requirement of Christianity.  You won’t go to hell if you don’t – or if you do, eat fish on Good Friday.  The only requirement to get into heaven is to believe in the name of Jesus.

Hot Cross Buns

A 12th Century monk is believed to have first baked them in honour of the upcoming easter season.  They gained popularity around England and then spread around the world.  The cross of course, represents the cross that Jesus was hung upon.  And of course no, you won’t go to hell if you eat hot cross buns before good Friday, or don’t eat them at all.

Easter Eggs

At the end of the day – nobody is entirely sure where this tradition originated.  There’s two lines of thought – one that they were part of the pagan festivals at the time and celebrated fertility and the second being that eggs were not allowed to be eaten while the Christians were fasting.  At the end of the fast there were lots of eggs that had been hard boiled to preserve them and then were handed out to the less fortunate.

Easter Bunny

The ancient Greeks thought rabbits could reproduce as virgins.  Later the rabbit got associated with the virgin Mary, who became pregnant with Jesus without knowing a man.  During medieval periods, Mary and rabbits were often pictured together.  The German protestants later used the easter bunny as a symbol of the season, taking this tradition all over the world with them as the emigrated.


The real meaning of Easter

Easter means different things to different people and we all have different ways of celebrating and spending our time at Easter time. Putting aside the festivities, we reflect on the reason behind the holiday.

Around 2000 years ago, a man called Jesus walked the earth. That he existed is not questioned by any historical document.  He was a poor man by earthly standards, but inspired hope in many people as he shared a message of peace and love. He brought healing to many sick and infirm people, sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf and raised the dead. He taught in synagogues and was able to silence even the most learned scholars. He preached a message of repentance and showed a better way to live.

This of course got him into trouble with the authorities at the time – here was a man no longer conforming to the required standards at the time and they didn’t like it.

The Romans whipped, beat and spat upon Jesus, then they crucified Him on a cross – a brutal, humiliating, torturous death – hoping to put an end to the hope that people had in Jesus and the revolution he had started.  They took him, buried him in a tomb and sealed the tomb, even placing guards at the entrance to make sure this dead man didn’t escape. Even they knew: there was something different about Jesus.

After the third day, Jesus rose – the tomb was empty and He was back amongst the living again.

The cross is a symbol of torture, but as believers in Christ, it became a symbol of hope, of triumph over death, of the promise of new life here on earth and of everlasting life when our life on earth ends.

The public death and resurrection of Jesus signalled that this hope was available to everyone – not just the Jews, but anyone who believed that Jesus was the son of God. It was a simple but life changing message: Jesus is the son of God, and whoever believes in him shall not die but have eternal life.

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