Easter, what do we actually celebrate?
Easter starts with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter. These days they come back every year. On Monday we close the Easter weekend with Easter Monday. But what exactly are we celebrating?
Easter in a nutshell
Easter is a Christian feast celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. On Maundy Thursday, Jesus sits with his followers at the last supper, later Judas betrays him. On Good Friday, Jesus dies on the cross and rises three days later. Eggs are part of Easter and are seen as a symbol of rebirth. And that’s what Easter is all about. After all, Jesus Christ rose from the dead. With his death he takes upon himself the sins of mankind, all is forgiven.
Easter is never on the same date. Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the onset of spring.
Carnival, Ash Wednesday, and Lent. Prior to Lent, a 3-day carnival is celebrated. Carnival ends with Ash Wednesday. This is the start of the 40-day Lent.
First and second Easter day
In 1618, the church and state determined that Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost were given a second public holiday and were therefore also celebrated on Mondays. Since 1815 these Mondays have become official holidays in the Netherlands.
Easter eggs at breakfast, brunch, or lunch
During Easter, we like to eat an egg. Whether you enjoy chocolate eggs or a boiled and painted egg, an egg is part of the Easter breakfast. Traditionally, you were not allowed to eat eggs from Lent till Easter Sunday. During Lent, eggs were painted and stored, and eaten at Easter. Egg painting is absolute a Dutch tradition.
The Chocolate Egg is an 18th-century invention by Parisian pastry bakers as a luxury variant of these eggs. Initially, they made the chocolate in the mold of a real egg. Chocolate eggs were made more beautiful and bigger over time. Some bakers held competitions to see who could make the prettiest egg. Now it is just a custom that we eat a lot of chocolate eggs around Easter. The first chocolate eggs sometimes appear in the shops at the end of January.
Saint Jude’s Medal
The lovely Saint Jude’s Medal (Lunaria annua) blooms at Easter. The Judas medal blooms in the colors purple and white. The plant gets its name from the round seed pods that resemble pennies. The plant is attractive to butterflies, honeybees and bumblebees are also happy with it.
The Passion, Dutch musical TV event
The Passion is an annual Dutch musical-biblical event about the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. The event is held in a different Dutch city on Maundy Thursday and broadcast live on television. The organization is a collaborative project of religious broadcasters. Several Dutch celebrities tell the story. Not only on the basis of Biblical texts but also with well-known Dutch pop songs and a well-known Dutch city as a backdrop. The Passion is very popular but… also receives criticism. Some Christians are enthusiastic because the Passion of Jesus reaches a wider audience in this way. Other Christians find it scandalous that the Bible story is told with Dutch hits.