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Opinion

Worldly traditions create Easter excitement

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April 6, 2012

As the semester and this year start to wind down, people across campus are looking forward to going home this weekend for Easter. Just like any holiday, there are many traditions that go along with celebrating on this Sunday every year. Here in the United States, many people like to celebrate the day with Easter egg hunts, finding their Easter basket, or getting together with family.

While the whole point of Easter has a Christian background, it can truly be a fun holiday for anyone to celebrate because there are many activities to do. Easter is celebrated all around the world, and with that, there are many different traditions in all the different countries.

One country with rich traditions on Easter is Greece. Here, the holiday is mostly focused on religion and religious practices. There are many religious ceremonies and candlelit processions. After fasting through the 40 days of Lent, the Greeks also enjoy a large feast and gathering with family.

One of their staples for their annual feast is typically a round flat loaf decorated with a cross called a Christopsomon. This loaf is usually decorated with colorful Easter eggs surrounding it. On Easter day, Greeks will carry with them a brightly colored Easter egg. When they see others, the two people will knock their eggs together.

Another country that had unique traditions on Easter is Mexico. Religion is also the main focus in Mexico. People like to celebrate by putting on lavish, religion-based plays. These plays typically enact the Last Supper, Judas’ betrayal, the crucifixion and the rise of Christ on Easter Sunday.

The use of costumes in these plays is prominent, and they are very lavish and play a major role in the plays. The week prior to Easter Sunday is normally sad in spirit as people commemorate Santa Semana, or the holy week, and Pascua, known as the Resurrection Day.

This week is also commemorated with parades. Spirits are lifted on Sunday as this is the Resurrection Day. There is much joy and celebration throughout the country on Easter Sunday.

Russia blends the religious aspects of this holiday with the stereotypical Easter traditions, such as Easter eggs. People are given brightly colored eggs as gifts and give the benediction “Christ has risen” on Easter Sunday. At midnight on Easter eve, the priest goes around to the different houses and knocks on the doors.

The people inside the homes then come out and walk down the street, singing songs of praise to honor the Resurrection. A popular flower on Easter Sunday in Russia is the pussy willow. These are picked and then used to tap others as a sign of good luck. As in Greece, Russians celebrate Easter every year with a great feast.

My ancestors and the current inhabitants of Ireland celebrate Easter with traditional foods. Each year, the Irish devour roasted lamb and leek soup after the solemnity of Good Friday. This feast is followed by celebrations, blessings by the priest, and the distribution of Holy Water.

Just like in the United States, the Irish have eggs as a very prominent part of their celebration. They eat eggs on this holiday and also use colored eggs for egg rolling and other traditional Easter games.

Easter is a very prominent holiday all around the world and people have many fun ways of celebrating it. Whether the traditions have a Christian background, are a large feast, or are playing fun games special to the country, it is undoubtedly a holiday that is looked forward to each year.

Enjoy the holiday this year and, as always, stay safe.

Cristin Dempsey is an English major and music minor from Eagan, Minn. She enjoys writing, playing the flute and swimming. After college she would like to pursue a career as an editor.