English Easter is full of diverse customs, folk performances and culinary traditions. Unlike Russian, it began to be celebrated long before the adoption of Christianity. It is believed that the English name for Easter - Easter - comes from the name of the pagan goddess of dawn and spring - Eostre.
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday
The most important days of Easter celebrations are Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter itself. On Thursday of Holy Week, Christians remember the Last Supper, when Christ washed the feet of the apostles. Interestingly, in the 17th century, the British had a tradition according to which the king or queen on this day had to wash the feet of several poor people. In the 18th century, this tradition was replaced by money alms, and then - gifts in the form of clothing and food. In modern Great Britain, the Queen rewards only the elderly who have significant services to the Fatherland. They are presented with ceremonial red and white purses filled with coins made especially for the occasion.
The English call Good Friday "Good Friday". For breakfast on this day, fresh spicy buns are served, which are cut with a cross on top before baking and stuffed with raisins or candied fruits. The burning sensation from spices is intended to remind people of the sufferings of Christ on the cross. Interestingly, the cross on buns appeared during the pre-Christian Easter celebration. Then he was a symbol of the sun and spring warmth. It is also believed that "cross" buns protect the house from the invasion of "evil spirits" and even heal diseases. In churches, in memory of the crucifixion of Christ, a funeral prayer service is held.
On Easter morning, believers gather near the temple to solemnly greet the sunrise. An Easter candle is lit in the church, pins are stuck into it, symbolizing the wounds of Christ. Then the candle is carried through the whole church so that the worshipers can light their candles from it. On the eve of the festive dinner, houses are decorated with flowers and figures of Easter bunnies. A basket of white lilies is placed in the middle of the table, and colorful Easter eggs are placed in the corners. Traditional Easter dishes are meatballs with honey and garlic, baked ham, sausages or bacon, vegetable salad, potatoes in rosemary and garlic oil. The main decoration of the Easter table is a baked stuffed lamb.
The symbols of English Easter are Easter eggs and the Easter bunny, which was considered a constant companion of the beautiful goddess of dawn and spring, Eostre. English children are confident that if they have behaved well throughout the year, the Easter Bunny will definitely bring them a festive basket with chocolate eggs and other goodies. In the UK, it is generally accepted to exchange not real, but chocolate eggs with caramel filling or souvenirs in the form of Easter eggs.
I must say that English children and young people do not delve too much into the religious origins of Easter, for them it is, first of all, a fun and amusing holiday.