Religious and secular Easter traditions
Easter eggs are a popular sign of the holiday among its religious and
secular observers alike.
As with many other Christian dates, the celebration of Easter extends
beyond the church. Since its origins, it has been a time of celebration
and feasting and many Traditional Easter games and customs developed,
such as Egg rolling, Egg tapping, Pace egging and Egg decorating. Today
Easter is commercially important, seeing wide sales of greeting cards
and confectionery such as chocolate Easter eggs, marshmallow bunnies,
Peeps, and jelly beans. Even many non-Christians celebrate these aspects
of the holiday while eschewing the religious aspects.
Throughout North America, the British Isles, New Zealand and Australia
the Easter holiday has been partially secularized, so that some families
participate only in the attendant revelry, central to which is
(traditionally) decorating Easter eggs on Saturday evening and hunting
for them Sunday morning, by which time they have been mysteriously
hidden all over the house and garden. Chocolate eggs have largely
supplanted decorated eggs in New Zealand and Australia.
Colored Easter eggs in the United States.
In North America, Australia and New Zealand, parents often tell their
children that eggs and other treats have been delivered and hidden by
the Easter Bunny in an Easter basket which children find waiting for
them when they wake up. Many families in America will attend Sunday Mass
or services in the morning and then participate in a feast or party in
the afternoon; the food cooked for the feast and the customs practiced
at the feast may be influenced by Jewish cuisine and the Jewish holiday
A Bermuda kite.
In the UK children still decorate eggs, but most British people simply
exchange chocolate eggs on the Sunday. Chocolate Easter Bunnies can be
found in shops. Many families have a traditional Sunday roast,
particularly roast lamb, and some eat Easter foods such as Simnel cake,
a fruit cake with eleven marzipan balls representing the eleven faithful
apostles. Hot cross buns, spiced buns with a cross on top, are
traditionally associated with Good Friday, but today are often eaten
well before and after. In Scotland, the north of England, and Northern
Ireland, the traditions of rolling decorated eggs down steep hills and
pace egging are still adhered to.
In Louisiana, USA, egg tapping is known as egg knocking. Marksville,
Louisiana claims to host the oldest egg-knocking competition in the US,
dating back to the 1950s. Competitors pair up on the steps of the
courthouse on Easter Sunday and knock the tips of two eggs together. If
the shell of your egg cracks you have to forfeit it, a process that
continues until just one egg remains.
In the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda, the most notable feature
of the Easter celebration is the flying of kites to symbolize Christ's
ascent. Traditional Bermuda kites are constructed by Bermudians of
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