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The Easter Bunny

Irish Festivals.Net

    Spring Festivals
    Easter

    At Easter Day dances, a large cake is exhibited for all to see. Men pay to dance, and the one who dances the most "takes the cake". This means that the person who dances more than anyone else.

    Irish Easter begins with cleansing. Houses are to be cleaned inside and out, and whitewashed if necessary. It is a time to purchase new clothing.

    Good Friday is a day of remembrance, for it is the day when the innocent Lord Jesus was crucified.

    There should be no work done in the fields, but only work on the house, preferably inside. No blood is to be shed, no hammering of nails, and no wood working. The reasoning behind this was that to do so would be to be like the Roman soldiers who nailed the hands and feet of the Savior onto the wood of the cross.

    Fasting more than usual is a must. There must be absolute silence from noon until around three in the afternoon, for that was the time of the Lord's greatest agony on the cross.

    After a visit to church, Good Friday is a day for visiting graveyards and holy wells. There is to be no fishing done on this day, at least not with nets, boats or fishing lines. The evening meal is to be made of sea food, but that which can be gathered on the shore...shell fish, sea weed and such. To prevent headaches throughout the coming year, one must cut his or her hair, and also trim fingernails and toe nails. A baby born on Good Friday and baptized on Easter Sunday is believed to have special healing powers. If a son, he should go into the ministry. Even eggs hatched on this day will be sure to produce healthy chicks. Unhatched eggs gathered should be marked with a cross, and eaten by the family on Easter Sunday.

    Easter Saturday is a little less heavy. Some water should be taken to be blessed, and three sips taken of the now "Holy water" by each member of the family. With what is left, everything in the house should be sprinkled for blessings in the year to come.

    Easter Sunday is the big day, the day everyone has been waiting for. On this day, Jesus rose from the dead, and all is joy. Everyone must rise early, before the sunrise, as did the ladies who went to the tomb to tend to the slain Savior's body. But just as the sun rises in the sky, so did the Lord rise from the dead, and the ladies did not find his body there as they had expected. Children and adults alike will take a pail of water and watch the reflection of the sun, then jiggle it so the water moves, making the sun appear to dance.

    After the sunrise is a ceremony, it is time for worship in church, and then the festivities.

    Butchers, who for the long days of lent have gone through some slow business, will often hold a mock funeral for a herring. This is symbolic of the end of lent, the end of abstinence, and the return to eating meat. A day of great joy for butchers. They have a procession where they might whip the herring, but whatever they do, it involves this poor doomed fish.

    The egg, being a symbol of life and new birth, spring and the raising from the dead of the Lord Jesus, plays an important part in the celebrations on this day. Children can boil and paint them. They can be given away, eaten, rolled in a race to see which one can go the farthest, and of course, the well know egg hunt where they are hidden and the children set out to find them.

    Another Irish custom is to have the children gather raw eggs, then cook or roast them in a special contraption built at the edge of their farm. This ritual is called a cluideog (cludog). All egg shells must be saved to place around the May bush.

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