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April  


Spring Holidays
By Sarah Lane
Apr 1, 2004, 06:00 PST

Spring Holidays

Spring Holidays

 Easter

Religious Aspects

  The season of Lent lasts 46 days beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending with Easter.  This is a time period set aside to recognize and feel sorrow for your sins.  The last week of Lent begins with Palm Sunday, which celebrates the day Jesus entered Jerusalem and the people lay down palms at his feet.  In that same week, Holy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper.  This was the dinner attended by Jesus and his twelve Disciples the evening before his crucifixion.  Good Friday is the day that Christ was crucified.  Easter Sunday, three days later, commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 

 

There are two ways on which the date Easter will fall is decided.  In the West, it is the first Sunday after the first full moon, after the first day of spring.  Sound complicated? Well the Eastern Orthodox holiday is determined the same as above, with the exception that the date also falls after the Jewish holiday of Passover.  Whew!  Now for the really fun stuff.

 

Non-Religious Aspects

  The word ‘Easter’ is said to be from the names of goddesses of mythology.  It represents spring and fertility. The Easter egg is also a symbol of fertility and new life.  People used to decorate and exchange these eggs similar to Valentines.  In Greece they exchange red eggs to honor the blood of Christ.  In Germany and Austria they exchange green eggs on Holy Thursday.  Germans also poke holes in eggs and blow the contents into a bowl. They then decorate the delicate objects and hang them up.  Slavic people give gold and silver eggs to each other.    

 

The Easter bunny itself is a symbol of fertility.  Hares and rabbits are the most fertile animals and are symbols of new life.  Germany made the first edible rabbits in the early 1800’s.  The tradition came to America with the Dutch immigrants.  Kids were told that if they behaved, the bunny would lay colored eggs for them in their strategically placed caps or bonnets.

Source:              Easter on the Net, holidays.net

 

Passover

The celebration of Passover is eight days long.  It is an observance of the freedom and exodus of the Israelites from Egypt 3000 years ago.  Moses demanded the freedom of the Israelites from Pharaoh Ramses II.  When he said no, God sent ten terrible plagues on the people of Egypt.  They were blood, frogs, lice, flies, cattle disease, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and the slaying of the first-born. 

 

With the arrival of the last plague, all first-borns of man or beast were to be killed except, of course, the Israelites.  They were told to put lambs blood on their front doors so God would “Passover” those homes.  Finally, the Pharaoh let them go only to pursue them across the hot desert.  When the Israelites approached the Red Sea, God parted the waves and let them pass through safely.  When the Pharaoh’s army followed, the water covered their heads.

 

The first two nights of the eight-day celebration of Passover, families gather and retell this story.  They begin their celebration with a meal known as Seder that includes specific foods, plates, and utensils.  Only foods that are “Kosher” are allowed and the children participate in the reenactment of the story.

Source:     Passover on the Net, holidays.net

© Copyright 2004 by ClassBrain.com

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