EASTER IN BRITAIN
Easter is the time for holidays, festivals and a time for giving chocolate Easter eggs. But Easter means much more. It is the oldest and the most important Christian Festival, the celebration of the death and coming to life again of Jesus Christ. For Christians, the dawn of Easter Sunday with its message of new life is the high point of the year. Holy Week is the week leading up to Easter, commemorating events in the last days of Christ’s life. The first day of Holy Week is Palm Sunday. When is Easter? Easter usually comes in the month of April. It is what is called a ‘moveable feast’ because the date of it is fixed according to the moon. Easter Sunday has to be the first Sunday following the full moon, after the Spring equinox – the Paschal Full Moon. This means that Easter can fall as early as March 22 or as late as April 25.
Like most Christian festivals, Easter has its origins in pre-Christian times. Our ancestors believed that the sun died in winter and was born anew in spring. The arrival of spring was celebrated all over the world long before the religious meaning became associated with Easter. Today, Easter celebrates the rebirth of Christ.
Different Gods were thanked for bringing the Earth back to life. The word Easter is thought to have derived from the goddess Eostre, an Anglo-Saxon Goddess.
Even though Easter is associated with Spring in England, it is not so in countries in the southern hemisphere. In these countries Easter falls near the end of autumn. However, through out the world Easter is felt to be a time of new life and new beginnings because of Jesus’ rebirth.
Easter starts with Good Friday. Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday. On this day, Christians remember the day when Jesus was crucified on a cross. The name may be derived from ‘God’s Friday’ in the same way that good-bye is derived from ‘God be with ye’.
Jesus was arrested and was tried, in a mock trial. He was handed over to the Roman soldiers to be beaten and flogged with whips. A crown of long, sharp thorns was thrust upon his head.
Jesus was forced to carry his own cross outside the city to Skull Hill. He was so weak after the beating that a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was pulled from the crowd and forced to carry Jesus’ cross the rest of the way.
Jesus was nailed to the cross. Two other criminals were crucified with him, their crosses were on either side of him. A sign above Jesus read "The King of the Jews." This took place at approximately 9am Friday morning.
Christians believe that Jesus stood in our place. His death paid the penalty not for his own wrong doings but for ours.
Easter Saturday is also known as Holy Saturday, Easter Even and the Great Sabbath. The term "Easter Even" was used by the 1549 Prayer Book. The 1979 BCP uses the title "Holy Saturday" for the Saturday before Easter (p. 283).
It is the Saturday before Easter, the last day of Lent and is the day when Christ’s body lay in His Tomb. In the early church Holy Saturday was a day of fasting and preparation for the Easter Vigil.
Easter Vigil, dating back to at least the Roman times, takes place on Holy Saturday. It is celebrated by the use of a wax candle which is inscribed with a cross. The letters alpha and omega are inscribed at the top and bottom and the four numbers representing the current year are inscribed above and below the cross arms. Five grains representing the wounds of Christ are sometimes pushed into the soft wax.
Holy Saturday is also often incorrectly called Easter Saturday, a term that correctly refers to the following Saturday after Easter.
Easter Sunday. Easter Day is the high point of the festival. A day of parties, gift-giving and above all a celebration that Jesus rose from the dead and lives forever. The traditional Easter gift is a chocolate egg.
Christians gather together on Easter Sunday for a Sunrise Service. This service takes place on a hill side so everyone can see the sun rise.
Why Do We Give Easter Eggs? For Christians, Easter eggs symbolise new life. They believe that, through his resurrection, Jesus defeated death and sin and offers people the promise of eternal life if they follow his teachings. Eggs have been a symbol of continuing life and resurrection since pre-Christian spring celebrations.
Eggs had a religious significance in many ancient civilisations; Egyptians buried eggs in their tombs as did the Greeks; A Roman proverb states, "All life comes from an egg". It’s probably no surprise that Christianity should also adopt the egg to symbolise the resurrection of Christ.
Easter Presents. Chocolate eggs are given to children. The eggs are either hollow or have a filling, and are usually covered with brightly coloured silver paper. Small chocolate eggs are hidden for the children to find on the traditional Easter Egg Hunt. Around 80 million chocolate eggs are eaten each year in Britain.
Egg rolling is the most popular and is an Easter Monday sport. Hard-boiled eggs are rolled down a hill. Customs differ from place to place. The winner’s egg may be the one that rolls the farthest, survives the most rolls, or is rolled between two pegs.
Another activity that happens is the playing of a game with the eggs known as "jarping", which is rather like conkers. Each person holds a pace egg firmly in his hand and knocks it against his opponent‘s to see which is the strongest and which egg can score the most victims.
Easter cards. Easter cards arrived in Victorian England, when a stationer added a greeting to a drawing of a rabbit. The cards proved popular.
GLOSSARY FOR THIS UNIT
according to sth/sb
all over the world
corwn of throwns
high point of the festival
to adopt sth
to be arrested
to be associated with
to be beaten
to be born anew
to be covered with
to be crucified on a cross
to be flogegd with whips
to be forced to do sth
to be handed over
to be nailed to the cross
to be tried
to date back to
to derive from
to differ from
to gather together
to knock sth against sth
to lead somewhere
to refer to sth
to roll down
to take place
to thank for sth
a fesztivál fénypontja
hamis bírósági tárgyalás
Krisztus el?tti id?k
befogadni, örökbefogadni vmit
vmivel befedve lenni
keresztre feszítve lenni
ostorral megkorbácsolva lenni
kényszerítve lenni vmire
keresztre szögezve lenni
vmit beleütni vmibe