Learn about Easter with fun facts

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easter eggs
The symbols of the holiday known as Easter reflect themes of rebirth and hope for the future.
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Everything about the Easter holiday reflects a yen for spring

Pagans know how to party. Pagans worship numerous gods—powers whose whims regulate rain, sun and the harvest. Pagan gods decide whether a woman will bear young and whether a young man is destined to go to war. Zeus, Aphrodite and Bacchus—the god of wine and song—join Venus and Mercury in the speedy execution of matters governing humans. Or so pagans believe. Today’s beliefs about easter harken back to ancient times.

Ancient and modern pagans celebrate numerous holidays. Many resemble those about easter. The festivals are marked by the sharing of fruits, songs and roasted lambs. In ancient days, similar harvest festivals, spring festivals and other revelries heralded any number of special occasions. The taking of food—or flowers—to deceased family members’ graves became commonplace as spring revived the land.

Commonalities are shared worldwide

Later, the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his demise through crucifixion blended with pagan themes of death and rebirth that echo the dark of winter and the resurrection of spring. It’s a fact about easter today that the day is a major Christian holiday replete with spiritual music, candles and incense. And cultures in many lands continue to herald spring with similar festivals—religious or communal.

When Christianity swept ancient Rome and spread to Greece, nearby countries and other continents, pagan ways ebbed. But the festivals so beloved by pagan practitioners did not disappear. Instead, they more often morphed into holidays with Christian focuses and frequently were attended by not only Christians but by newly baptized former pagans. Today, these transformed feasts about easter continue to be honored.

• The pagan feast Eostre became about easter

• The pagan goddess of the dawn was named Eostre

• A festival welcoming spring honored Eostre

• Springtime feasts celebrated birth and fertility

• The prolific Easter bunny represents fertility

• Pagans brought gifts of food to their gods’ temples

• Christians toted Easter baskets of food to churches

• Eggs in many ancient cultures represent rebirth

Traditions and trends continue

The modern holiday is celebrated with the giving of fresh flowers—especially white lilies—and is usually marked with giving to friends and loved ones lovely greeting cards whose components include decorative paper, gold or silver inks and perhaps stick-on gemstones or stickers. Cards about easter are exchanged between loved ones of all ages but seem especially sweet when hand-made from lovingly selected art supplies or craft materials found at home.

Easter spending is generous

Economists delight in providing studies about easter that track American’s expenditures. Consumer spending patterns naturally spike when the economy is booming. But even in a subdued environment it seems folks prefer to cut corners without foregoing the smiles afforded by the receipt of beautiful cards or fragrant bouquets of fresh flowers.

Indeed, the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts holiday spending of more than $12 billion this year. That figure about easter surpasses last year’s spending by nearly $10 billion. It seems there always are a few dollars to be found for preparations about easter or other major holidays.

Easter traditions prevail

The nice thing about easter is that it pivots upon the theme of rebirth. Entire families step out in new clothing. Mom wears a fancy hat. The children sport new shoes. Dad might be seen in a new suit or sport coat.

Easter clothing options abound and today’s choices are well suited to everyone. There is plenty of plus-sized apparel for the men and appropriate selections for women, too. Everyone talks about easter with terms related to new beginnings and optimism for the future.

Foods and friendships are shared

Many cultures have traditions about easter that involve special foods eaten during that holiday. Special Easter breads that are braided and sprinkled with brightly colored sugar granules are among the favorites. Butter shaped in molds to resemble lambs graces many tables.

Another favorite is hot crossed buns—sweet, sticky rolls patterned with crosses of drizzled white frosting. All manner of kitchen wear and ingredients ranging from spices to nuts are employed to add a festive touch to any celebration about easter. It’s a time for sharing food and joy at the return of spring—and the resurrection in the Christian tradition of Jesus Christ.

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