For Christians all around the world, Easter Sunday is quickly approaching. After almost 40 long Lenten days, we have now entered Holy Week and will soon be celebrating the resurrection of the Jesus Christ on Sunday, April 17th. Easter is one of the oldest and most sacred seasons in the Christian calendar with numerous traditions and practices attached to it. One of my favourite Easter customs is the sunrise service. This event happens just before the crack of dawn on Easter morning. Congregations will gather in the outdoors during the wee hours of the morning, waiting for first light to ring out their Alleluias and share Holy Communion. It’s a beautiful time when our faith community remembers a dawn a long time ago, when Jesus’ followers rolled away the stone to the entrance of his tomb, only to find it empty. Christ had defeated death; light had conquered the darkness. So we raise our hymns and Alleluias at the crack of dawn, remembering this earth-shaking event and giving thanks.
This is just one of the many beautiful Easter traditions which will be celebrated this weekend. Some folks will mark it in a religious fashion and others in a secular way. Some will gather with friends and family for a big Easter dinner. Children will be hoping the Easter Bunny leaves them a few treats and enjoying Easter egg hunts in the local community. Others will take this weekend to mark the turning of the seasons and welcome in Spring. Throughout the world a variety of Easter traditions will be taking place.
In France, on Easter Monday, people gather in the town of Bessières to cook a giant omelet using over 15,000 eggs. Tradition tells that Napoleon and his army stopped in this town while they were traveling through the south of France. They were given omelets to eat and Napoleon enjoyed them so much he ordered the town to gather eggs and make a giant omelet the next day for his entire army.
In Norway, Easter is the time for crime mysteries. Throughout the country, people take the weekend to watch “whodunnit” shows or read detective novels. Even the milk companies get in on the action and print short detective stories on their cartons during the season.
In Bermuda, people fly kites on Good Friday which symbolize Jesus ascending to heaven. While in Poland communities gather in the streets; armed with water guns and buckets to mark Easter with a friendly water fight on Śmigus Dyngus (Poured Monday). On the Greek island of Corfu, you have to watch out for flying pottery. At 1100hrs on Easter Saturday, people will toss clay pots from their balconies, chasing away evil spirits and marking the new beginning of Spring.
However you celebrate, there is so much that makes this holiday weekend special. Our Easter story is one of sacrifice but also of new beginnings and hope. So whether you will be taking part in an Easter Sunday service, gathering with friends and family for a feast and fellowship or celebrating the arrival of Spring, I wish you every blessing during your Easter weekend.