Easter has come and gone once again and it’s time for the family and friends to gather for a few days of well-earned rest and fun. It’s also an important time for those of a religious belief as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The waking up of the world after its winter slumber is an overriding feeling as the Northern Hemisphere moves into its Spring and Summer months. There are many traditions that we have through this time of year. Here are just a few.
Chocolate Easter Eggs – It’s a very common sight, and an important part of the industry, that we all start munching Chocolate Easter Eggs on Easter Sunday. It comes from the practice of Lent. It was custom for certain foodstuffs to be forbidden to be eaten after Shrove Tuesday to Easter Sunday. Eggs were one of those foods. It’s why pancakes are made to use them up. Having an egg, (not a chocolate one!) was one of the first things that people did and the Chocolate makers have just copied this idea.
Imbolc Time. – In Ireland Spring is the time of Imbolc, to give it its pre-Christian name. It’s the time for food, fun, and making crosses for Saint Brigid. Imbolc is thought to date back to Neolithic times when stone circles would map the new Sun.
Seed planting – Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal. The women of the island of Sicily have a tradition of mass seed planting. These are specific plants like fennel, flowers and lettuce all in the hope that they will grow in the summer. It’s seen as a sign of fertility.
In Early March if you go to Lanark in Scotland you are likely to be shouted at by a Child. Don’t be surprised, it’s actually Whuppity Scourie time. The tradition goes that as the winter evenings faded the evil spirits around the town could be made to leave quickly, and speed up springs coming if the children went around shouting to scare them.
Oranges and Lemons – You might know the nursery rhyme “oranges and lemons say the bells of St Clements”, a song about the ringing peels of different Churches in London. At the end of March, the children of St Clements Danes School are actually rewarded with an orange or a lemon, though they do have to attend an afternoon service to get one.