I am WAY behind on posting here (gimme a break, I've been busy) and before I play catch-up, I'd like to recount an anecdote to you:
I gave my patented Easter lesson* (see below) today and I wanted to doublecheck the meaning of the term クリストのはりつけ (Kuristo no haritsuke) or Christ's Crucifixion. Pal Yuki then reminisced about a childhood game they played called はりつけ (haritsuke) in which one person would stand against a wall with arms outstretched, crucifixion-style and then the other kids would throw a ball at either side of one's head or at the armpits with the goal being to get as close to the person without nailing them and the crucified one should avoid flinching. Sort of a little less lethal version of "mumblety-peg" (see Youtube below.) Easter is relatively unknown here, but God Bless the little heathens for turning the crucifixion into a game of "Chicken"! Yet another reason why I adore this country.
As with almost all "Christian" holidays, Easter has been secularized 俗化して and commercialized. Since its start as a holy celebration in the second century, Easter has had its non-religious side. In fact, Easter was originally a pagan異教徒の festival.
The return of spring was celebrated with a lively festival commemorating their goddess of offspring and of springtime, “Eastre.” When the second-century Christian missionaries布教 met them with their pagan celebrations, they attempted to convert them to Christianity.
As it happened, the pagan festival of Eastre occurred at the same time of year as the Christian observance of the Resurrection of Christ キリストの復活. It made sense, therefore, to alter the festival itself, to make it a Christian celebration. The early name, Eastre, was eventually changed to its modern spelling, Easter.
The Lenten Season 四旬節
Lent is the forty-six day period just prior to Easter Sunday. It begins on Ash Wednesday 灰の水曜日. Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday") is a celebration, sometimes called "Carnival," practiced around the world, on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. It was designed as a way to celebrate before the sacrifices of Lent began. New Orleans is the main home of Mardi Gras celebrations in the U.S.
The Cross is the symbol of the Crucifixion クリストのはりつけ, as opposed to the Resurrection. It takes place on the Friday before Easter, called “Good Friday”.
The Easter Bunny
The Easter Bunny is not a modern invention. The symbol originated with the pagan festival of Eastre. The goddess, was worshipped through her symbol, the rabbit.
The Easter Egg
From the earliest times, the egg was a symbol of rebirth再生 in most cultures. Eggs were often colored brightly by boiling them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers.
Today, children hunt colored eggs and place them in Easter baskets along with the modern version of real Easter eggs -- those made of plastic or chocolate candy.
Happy Good Friday everybody (provided you aren't up against a wall!)