Chapter Eleven: Easter

Easter day

Chapter Eleven: Easter Day

Easter is a very important Christian festivity.

People celebrate the resurrection② of Jesus Christ on the third day after his death. Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon in March. This is between 22 March and 25 April. The origin of the English word Easter is uncertain③. It probably comes from the pagan goddess④ of spring, Eostre.

The pagans celebrated the arrival of spring with special festivals. The Christian Easter slowly replaced⑤ the pagan festivals, but some symbols of the spring festivals remained, such as flowers, eggs, rabbits and bunnies⑥. The tradition of the Easter basket is ancient. The pagans offered their eggs in grass baskets to the goddess Eostre.

In Britain and in the United States it is usual to send Easter cards to friends and relatives. For most Christian families Easter morning begins with a church service. Some Easter services begin very early in the morning. Others take place⑦ out of doors in a garden or park.

Easter is a time for Christians to be happy and there is special music in the churches. It is possible to hear George Frederick Handel’s “Messiah” during some Easter services.

Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah

To celebrate Easter and the arrival of spring almost everyone wears something new: a new dress, a new suit, new shoes.
① Easter:复活节。
② resurrection:复活。
③ uncertain:不确定的。
④ goddess:女神。
⑤ replaced:取代。
⑥ bunnies:兔子。
⑦ take place:举行。

Easter Day

Easter Day

Before Easter Day American and British children paint Easter eggs with bright colours and designs. Coloured eggs were exchanged at ancient spring festivals. The egg is an ancient symbol of life and fertility①. The decoration of Easter eggs began in England during the Middle Ages. Members of noble families gave one another gold-covered eggs as Easter presents!

On Easter Day in the United States. There is the traditional Easter egg hunt in every city and town. Parents tell their children that the Easter bunny hid many eggs in the park. The children must find the hidden eggs. Eggs are hidden in the grass, in a shrub or under a tree. When the children find the eggs they put them in colourful Easter baskets. The child with the biggest number of eggs is the winner.

The tradition of the Easter bunny and the basket of eggs was introduced by German immigrants long ago. On Easter Monday children roll② their eggs down a hill. Egg rolling is an ancient Easter tradition. The first egg that reaches the bottom of the hill without breaking is the winner. A famous egg-rolling contest takes place outside the White House in Washington DC on Easter Monday. The President of the United States invites children to roll eggs on the lawn③ of the White House.

At Easter time there are chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies and sugar eggs in all sweet shops. Some eggs are personalized with④ a name on them. Hot Cross⑤ Buns are a special Easter food. They are small sweet cakes with a cross on top. This cross represents Christ’s death on the cross. The buns are usually eaten in Britain on Good Friday.

① fertility:生育力。
② roll:滚动。
③ lawn:草坪。
④ are personalized with:标明。
⑤ cross:十字架。

In many American cities and towns there is an Easter Bonnet① Parade.
Girls and women with funny and bizarre② Easter bonnets march in the parade. Most women make their own bonnets. There is a prize for the most original. The most famous Easter Bonnet Parade is in New York City, on Fifth Avenue. Thousands of people participate③!

In 1933 the great American composer Irving Berlin wrote a song about the Easter Bonnet Parade. Here is a verse:

“In your Easter bonnet With all the frills upon it You’ll be the grandest lady In the Easter parade.”

Families usually spend Easter Day together. The traditional Easter meal consists of roast lamb, peas, new potatoes and eggs in many forms.

① Bonnet:女帽。
② bizarre:怪诞的。
③ participate:参加。

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