Easter is a time of many traditions. First we look at what they get up in the US during the holiday. Then, on the next page, we take a look at some of the strange things they get up to on the other side of the Atlantic.
Television cameras, reporters, and lots of nicely dressed children, from 3 to 6, will be found on the White House lawn, ready for the famous Egg Hunt and Egg Roll on Easter Monday. The traditional big Easter Bunny will also be there to fluff up the atmosphere. It's a yearly tradition and is important enough to be televised nation-wide. Youngsters will check under bushes, in flower beds and around trees in search of a few thousand colored eggs, or try their luck in pushing one of the approximately 7,000 hard boiled eggs with a stick, while the President and the First Lady look on.
Causing even more excitement in America's commercial world is New York's famous Easter Parade down Fifth Avenue. There are fabulous flowered floats, a preview of the new spring fashions, and often over-decorated and gaudy Easter bonnets displayed by famous ladies from New York and those in show business. It's a big free-for-all and just about anyone can get into the act and strut down the avenue to show off their finery.
These are but two examples of what many Americans do to have a good time and forget the stress of everyday problems on Easter Sunday. Hardly what one could call a religious connection, but definitely relaxing and lots of fun. It's the final touch of Easter, regardless of one's faith or religious affiliation.
FAQs about Easter in Britain
So go on, then. I can see you are desperate to tell us about the origins of all those wacky British Easter traditions.
Yes I am. Easter traditions in Britain go back a long, long way - back to Pagan times before the arrival of Christianity. Easter is named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the dawn and spring - Eostre. Many of the symbols of Easter have to do with fertility: birds, rabbits, eggs, etc. And, not only is this the time when the winter ends, it is also the time when Lent ends, also.
Well that seems all perfectly clear. But I read once that somewhere in the north of England people take eggs to the tops of hills and then roll them down them. Don't the eggs get broken? And isn't it a shameful waste of a good egg?
You mean "egg rolling", and this takes place in places like Preston, which is in Lancashire. The eggs are hard-boiled first, of course. And then people compete to see who can roll the eggs the furthest. In other places they have "egg fights". Two people each hold an egg in their palms and bang the eggs together. The loser is the one whose egg breaks first. "Egg hunts" are also known in England, as they are in America.
How egg-citing! I'd rather stay home and make an omelette, personally.
But if you like eating chocolate then Easter in Britain is a great time of year. The first chocolate egg appeared in Britain in 1870. These days an incredible 80 million of them are eaten every year.