Easter is one of the greatest Christian festivals of the year. It is full of customs, folklore, and traditional food. Many theologians think that Easter is named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess of dawn and spring - Eostre.
An Easter tradition is egg rolling. It must be quite an exciting game. First, people decorate eggs with different colors. Then they take the eggs to the top of a hill and let them roll down. The first egg to get to the bottom of the hill is the winner. Another interesting British tradition is the decoration of Easter bonnets. Some women and girls decorate hats, called Easter bonnets. They put lots of spring flowers on them, and wear them in Easter bonnet parades.
Hot Cross Buns are traditionally served on Good Friday. (Hot Cross buns are bread buns with currants and spices and they have a cross on top. They are best served hot.)
Easter in Australia consists of a 4-day weekend starting on Good Friday and ending on Easter Monday, with many families taking the chance to go for a short holiday.
The main day of celebration for the majority of families is Easter Sunday. Some people go to church services and have hot-cross buns for breakfast.
Children receive chocolate Easter eggs. Many families arrange an Easter egg hunt in their homes or gardens. Children always compete to see who can find the most eggs. Easter chocolates are not only eggs, but also rabbits.
There are many festivals held in Australia during this time and the largest is the Sydney Royal Easter Show. The event is held at Sydney Olympic park over a period of two weeks.
Australia is a very multicultural country and many minority groups celebrate Easter as they would have done in the country of their origin.
Easter is a religious holiday. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We celebrate Easter on the Sunday and Monday after the first full moon of spring. On Monday morning, boys go around with a rod woven out of willow branches to spank girls. They are rewarded with colored eggs or ribbons.
On our Easter Day, boys beat girls and women with things called a "pomláska". It's something made out plaited willow twigs. Girls are beaten on the back part of their bodies, and then give colored and decorated eggs to the boys. Sometimes boys also get sweets or money from their grand mums. When a boy comes to beat a girl after 12 p.m., the girl pours cold water over him and she doesn't give any eggs to him.
Our Easter Day is different from the British and American ones. They don't know of the beating of girls. They hide Easter eggs and sweets in grass, under trees, or in the yards near their houses. Children look for and find these eggs there.
Easter is the most important holiday on the religious calendar. During the whole period of Easter, people try to think more deeply of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
SHROVE TUESDAY (Masopustní úterý) is the last day before the start of Lent and is marked by feasting, celebrations, and carnivals in some countries.
ASH WEDNESDAY (Popeleční středa) is the first of the forty days of lent, when Christians are marked with ash on their foreheads in churches to remember that they will turn to ash when they die. In modern times, Lent does not only mean physical fasting but some people try to contemplate more on spiritual values and they also try to change their bad habits.
During the days of Holy Week, Christians go to church to remember that Jesus sacrificed himself to redeem the people and bring them eternal life.
PALM SUNDAY (Květná neděle) is the Sunday that begins the Holy week and commemorates the day when Jesus was greeted in Jerusalem with palm leaves that were spread out in front of him.
MAUDY THURSDAY (Zelený čtvrtek) is the day of the Last Supper of Jesus and his disciples.
GOOD FRIDAY (Velký pátek) is the day when Jesus was crucified.
HOLY SATURDAY (Bílá sobota) is the day of mourning.