The Easter Holiday 6th-9th April 2012

Easter 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 Christian year.

Easter is the story of Jesus’ last days in Jerusalem before his death. The Easter story includes Maundy Thursday (the Last supper leading to the Eucharist), Good Friday (the day on which Jesus was crucified) and Easter Day (the day on which Jesus came back to life).

Pagan traditions give us the English word “Easter” which comes from the word “Eostre”.

April was “Eostre-monath” (the month of openings). However, it should be remembered that Christians celebrated the resurrection of Christ long before the word “Easter” was used, and the word they used for the celebration was “Pascha”, which is derived from and linked to the Jewish festival of Passover.

According to Bede, the English monastic historian, the English word Easter comes from the Anglo-Saxon name for the month of April, which was known as “Eostremonath” in the AngloSaxon tongue and since Pascha was most often celebrated in Eostremonath, the English Christians began calling it “Easter”. Bede also notes that the month was named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess Esostre.

Rituals related to the goddess Eostre focus on new beginnings, symbolized by the Easter egg, and fertility, which is symbolized by the hare (or Easter bunny).

The first eggs given at Easter were birds eggs. These eggs were painted in bright colours to give them further meaning as a gift. Image

As chocolate became more wide spread in the 20th Century, a chocolate version of the traditional painted egg was developed. These days chocolate Easter ‘eggs’ come in all shapes and sizes and, in many homes and communities, children will enjoy taking part in an Easter egg hunt, or egg rolling, where hard-boiled eggs are rolled down hills with the winners egg being the one that rolls the furthest, survives the most rolls or is rolled between pegs.

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If you are in Preston over Easter and want to experience the fun of taking part in Easter Egg rolling, head to the city’s Avenham and Miller Park on Easter Monday (9th April between 10am-4pm) where thousands of people are expected to line the tops of the Victorian parks and send their eggs rolling down the hill.

The main egg roll takes place at 1pm and the council are promising quirky Victorian characters around the park to help families enjoy the day.

Other activities on offer include an interactive show, an enormous pillow pit and a village of free hands. This will have creative activities for children as well as horse and carriage rides around the park.

The day will also include the Easter bonnet parade at 2.30pm where Mayor Roberta Cartwright will judge the winner.

For further ideas of Easter holiday activities in Lancashire see http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/leisure/whats_on/9628568.What_s_on__Family_Easter_activities/

Enjoy your Easter holiday and Easter eggs (whether you are rolling them or eating them!).

Rachel

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