There are so many things to know about Irish Easter – they range from religious to historical to simply traditional. A wonderful and fascinating holiday! And perfect for expressing your Irish side!
Our Easter celebration always includes an egg hunt. In any given year we might decorate the baskets with shamrocks, color certain eggs green or gold (with Irish prizes associated with them) or make liberal use of harp or shamrock stickers in the decorating of the area.
But that's just us! There are gazillions of ways to bring your Irish side to an Easter celebration. And we'll definitely look at a million of them at least.
But first things first...
In the Christian tradition Easter commemorates the crucifixion and resurrection (three days later) of Jesus Christ. It also represents the end of Lent – 40 days of fasting and prayer.
The actual dates of Easter may be anywhere between March 22nd and April 25th in western Christian tradition. This is because the event is defined by the moon, the vernal equinox and … well … it’s complicated.
Another interesting tidbit is that the Easter tradition actually has roots prior to Christianity, to celebrate the return of the ‘fertile’ season. And this brings us to the first Irish Easter expression we would like to mention...
Many cultures share this tradition of course. But do you know where it comes from?
In Ireland the Easter egg (and other important symbols such as the hare – or ‘bunny,’ get it?) are actually ancient expressions of fertility.
And the idea of an Easter egg hunt actually celebrates a return to the fertile season – Spring! Flowers blooming. Babies being born. Eggs being laid. Land once again becoming fertile. This ancient celebration became connected with Christ’s resurrection and the idea of re-birth.
So, remember the Irish Easter egg. We’ll come back to that!
Good Friday is an observation of the day of Christ’s crucifixion. Generally, in Ireland, Good Friday is a time of quiet and contemplation.
One Irish tradition on Good Friday calls for no work outside the home. That’s the good news!
The ‘bad news’ is: it’s very typical for Good Friday (and all of Easter weekend really) to be a time of spring cleaning inside the home.
But hang on! There are several other traditions associated with Good Friday that are much more fun!
For example: the tradition of representing a cross in various ways such as
Other Irish expressions associated with Good Friday (and Easter in general) include:
Depending on your beliefs, this day may be a sacred time of fasting and prayer – or it might just be the day before the neighborhood Easter Egg hunt!
Here are some traditions and other Irish expressions appropriate for Easter Saturday
As I said before, Easter represents the end of 40 days of fasting. The unfortunate victim of this pent-up hunger is ... wait for it ...
… the herring.
Yes, this humble, unsuspecting fish, one of the few sources of protein during the 6 previous weeks of meat-free living, is now the scapegoat (scapefish?) of all that pent-up hunger.
Easter Sunday traditions involving the herring include:
(In our house we just eat some pickled herring and call it good.)
Still more Irish Expressions associated with Easter Sunday include:
Celebrating an Irish Easter is a fun and rewarding way to express your Irish side.
For more ideas on how to demonstrate your passion for Irish culture through holiday celebrations, visit us here!
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