Saturday, March 31st

5 Easter Traditions and What They Mean

Spring is bustin’ out all over!

Nature renews itself, coming out in vibrant greens after the winter doldrums, the clocks “spring ahead” an hour, and Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical  full moon following the Vernal Equinox. This year (2012), Easter falls on April 8th.

Easter is, for many, a Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ as well as the end of Lent. However, in the Western world, certain non-religious traditions have become part of the Easter celebration. Want to know more about your favorite parts of Easter? Here are…

5 EASTER TRADITIONS & WHAT THEY MEAN

Easter Parade: In America, the Easter parade tradition began in New York City when high society ladies and gents in the mid-1800’s, who attended services at Fifth Avenue churches, promenaded afterward, both to view the magnificent flower displays in other churches and to show off their new outfits and hats, which were, of course, the latest fashion. Lower and middle class people gathered to watch the spectacle, making it a popular festivity. Today,other cities host their own Easter parades including New Orleans and Richmond, VA.

Easter Eggs: The tradition of decorating eggs for Easter is believed to have pagan origins, as eggs are a symbol of fertility and the renewal of life. The practice of Christians decorating eggs to symbolize Christ’s tomb and His resurrection began sometime in the 13th century. The secular practice of egg-hunting began with egg rolling, first recorded in 1878 as taking place on the White House lawn when President Rutherford B. Hayes was in office. The annual White House Easter Egg Roll still takes place today on the Monday after Easter.

Easter Bunny: The precise  origins of the Easter Bunny aren’t clear, but most folklorists and historians believe the egg-laying rabbit may have been brought to America by German immigrants in the early 18th century. Their children believed the “Osterhase,” a white hare, would lay colorful eggs if they were good, and the custom spread.  In the 19th century, the Easter Bunny’s offerings grew sweeter, leading us to…

Easter Candy: The first Easter confections were made in Germany from pastry and sugar. In the early 19th century, including chocolate eggs in a child’s Easter basket became popular in Europe – likely due to the new industrial chocolate manufacturing – and the practice soon spread to America. Jelly beans, though first mass marketed by William Schraft in the 1860’s, began to be put into children’s Easter baskets in the 1930’s (note that flavors – such as cherry and black licorice- were not added to jelly beans until the 1970’s). Bonus facts: the world’s largest chocolate Easter egg was created in 2010 by Supermercados Imperatriz Ltda and Nestlé in Brazil – the egg weighed 14,917 pounds 2 oz. The largest chocolate rabbit stood 12′ 5″ tall, weighed in excess of 6,635 pounds, and was made for Duracell (the Energizer Bunny, anyone) in South Africa.

Easter Ham: In Europe, lamb has long been a staple of the Easter dinner table. However, in colonial America, ham was far more plentiful in many communities. Hams put up in November to cure would be ready to eat by April. By the 1930’s, home cooks were experimenting with various methods of glazing their hams for increased sweetness including pineapple, molasses, sugar, ginger ale, marshmallows, and honey. Today, many Americans enjoy a traditional ham dinner, although some prefer vegetarian or other healthful options.

Greeting Card Universe offers lots of custom Easter greeting cards for you to exchange with family and friends. From religious cards celebrating “He is Risen” to designs featuring the Easter bunny, rabbits, eggs, chicks, flowers, and other symbols of spring, our “egg-cellent” selection is sure to please.

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