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Easter Monday is a Christian holiday celebrated the day after Easter Sunday. Formerly, it was celebrated as Easter Week in many places but was reduced to a one-day celebration in the 19th century.
The whole week before Easter is called Holy Week, it contains the days of the Maundy Thursday, commemoration the Maundy and Last Supper, as well as Good Friday, which commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus.
In countries where Christianity is a state religion, or where the country has a large Christian population, Easter is often a public holiday. As Easter is always a Sunday, many countries in the world also have Easter Monday as a public holiday.
Easter and the holidays that are related to it are movable feasts that do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian or Julian calendars which follow only the cycle of the sun. Its date is determined on a lunisolar calendar similar to the Hebrew calendar.
Orthodox churches such as the Greek church, base their Easter date on the Julian calendar, while other Christians use the Gregorian calendar.
The name Easter is derived from “Eostre” or “Ostra”, a pagan goddess of fertility. In most languages other than English and German, the Easter name is derived from Pesach, the Hebrew name of Passover, a Jewish holiday to which the Christian Easter is intimately linked.
Modern Easter celebrations revolve around eggs. They are usually painted, rolled down hills or eaten if they are from the chocolate. The painting tradition is said to represent the rebirth and resurrection of the new life being born from the egg.
Easter, therefore, depends on Passover not only for much of its symbolic meaning but also for its position in the calendar. It is also said that the egg recalls the shape of the stone that rolled away on Easter Sunday from the tomb that held the body of Jesus.
This egg tradition is almost certainly a distillation of a much older pagan custom celebrating spring. The ancient Persians celebrated their New Year at the time of the vernal equinox by painting eggs.
Easter customs in Europe
- Norwegians usually travel during Easter, often to a countryside cottage and most of them go to skiing during the holiday.
- In Hungary, Men visit women and ask for permission for sprinkling by reciting a little Easter poem, they sprinkle them with some perfume and in exchange, they will get the eggs.
- In France, during Easter, the candy shops are usually filled with beautiful and delicious chocolates in the shape of eggs and bunnies. More often than not, these chocolates look more like exquisite works of art than candy, and much like peering at a masterpiece.
- In Germany, beautiful decorated Easter eggs are usually hung on branches in a vase at the home or on trees outside to mark the Easter holiday season (Der Osterbaum).
- In Italy, Easter is celebrated with real fanfare. The Paschal feast is celebrated with a roasted baby lamb (Angelino). It is an extraordinary popular dish on the occasion of Easter. Special crown-shaped bread is prepared on the occasion which children relish very much.
- In the Netherlands, Easter is celebrated as a spring holiday in the Netherlands. People decorate and arrange tables for Easter dinner. Sweet bread is an important dish of the Easter feast.
- In Sweden, the egg features in all Easter food and games. Egg coloring parties, a favorite of virtually every household, are one of the most important activities on this occasion. Bonfires are a part of the Easter traditions in Sweden as well where people gather to enjoy them.
- In Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the interesting custom is the “eggs fighting” where the eggs are hit against each other, and the one whose egg is not broken at the end of the competition wins.