Like any Christian or Catholic would agree, Easter is a day of attending Sunday morning mass, getting together with family, having dinner at a preferably earlier time than usual, indulging in lots of candy and hollowed out milk chocolate Easter bunnies that the “Easter Bunny” left in a basket, and of course, to top off the festivities, participating in an Easter egg hunt comprised of hidden hardboiled eggs that were dyed with food coloring just a day or two beforehand.
There are even mass Easter egg hunts held for children in certain neighborhoods around New York City. Easter is supposed to be the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. Christians believe that Easter marks the day that Jesus Christ was resurrected after spending three days in his tomb.
In the Christian/Catholic world Easter is supposed to be one of the most holiest days of the year and I really don’t see much religious tradition that goes into Easter besides waking up a little earlier to attend Sunday morning mass. The resurrection of Jesus Christ seems to get overshadowed by American icons like the Easter Bunny and classic holiday materials like the Easter bonnet.
Dying Easter eggs is more of a tradition than actually reflecting on the death and resurrection of Christ. But I guess the same sort of analogy can be made for Christmas, an equally epic day on the Christian calendar that commemorates the birth of Christ. On Christmas, the birth of Christ gets overshadowed with figures like Santa Claus, traditions of putting up a decorated tree, and the joy of giving and receiving presents. Christians and Catholics take the meanings of these sacred holidays very seriously, but it doesn’t show at all through the way these holidays are celebrated. There are probably tons of Christians and Catholics that only attend mass on the day these holidays occur on as opposed to all-year round – I like to call those types of people “commercial” Christians and Catholics.
Maybe I’m coming down too hard on these different sects of religions, but coming from a Catholic-Italian family, I think have the right to make these observations. Even though the forty days of Lent is preparation for the commemoration of the resurrection of Christ, the true reasons for the existence of holidays like Easter and Christmas are usually never embraced outside of the classic holiday mass.
On the other hand, the eight-day festival of Passover that commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt is celebrated with strict religious tradition, value, and discipline. Passover is one of the best-known Jewish holidays and the Jewish people take the history behind Passover very seriously and it shows. The first and last days of the holiday are the days in which no work is permitted. On the first two nights of Passover a significant meal is held called a Seder. The Passover Seder is a ritual banquet, which reenacts the Exodus. Unlike Christian and Catholic traditions on holidays like Easter, everything that Passover represents is essentially brought to the dinner table of a Jewish family.
But, hey, apparently Christians do give meaning to famed Easter traditions like the Easter egg. The egg is supposed to represent a symbol for new life and resurrection.