What’s part of your holiday weekend?

Looking for something topical for this weekend, I happened across “Top 10 strange Easter traditions” on a New Zealand web site. And here’s the list:

Chocolate "Easter Bilbies" in dark, milk and white varieties. The bilby is an Australian marsupial. No doubt the pouch is handy for carrying eggs.

1. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia men and boys whip women and girls with decorated instruments, usually adorned with colourful ribbons. The Easter Monday tradition is not intended to be painful, but instead is meant to encourage good health and beauty. The women and girls may think differently.

2. New Zealand is famous for our butter – but Poland and Russia are famous for their butter lambs. Butter is sculpted into the shape of a lamb, which accompanies a meal.

3. The leftovers from Christmas create some fun at Easter time in Germany. Remnants of Christmas trees are piled into a heap and burnt as a way of recognising the end of winter and moving into spring.

4. You’ve probably seen chocolate eggs and bunnies, but what about a chocolate Bilby? In an attempt to raise awareness about the dwindling Bilby population, this small rabbit size marsupial with large ears, native to Australia, has been immortalised in chocolate.

5. While we may hide Easter eggs in New Zealand, some people in Switzerland display them proudly for everyone to see. It is a tradition in Nyon, near Geneva, to adorn fountains with flowers, ribbons and eggs.

6. The bells in France’s churches are silenced on Good Friday to recognise the death of Jesus. But legend says that the bells actually fly to Rome and fly back in time to be rung on Easter Sunday. There are many paintings and pictures attesting to this tradition.

7. The burning of Judas is an ancient Easter ritual in Orthodox and Catholic nations, but only a few countries still practice it. An effigy of Judas is often displayed and burnt at Easter time in parts of Greece, Mexico, Portugal and Spain.

8. It’s most likely that a man was behind this Polish tradition. Men in Poland are not allowed to make Easter bread, and some say any food at all over Easter, in fear that their moustache will turn grey.

9. Finland may need a reminder that it’s Easter, not Halloween. Children often dress up as witches and wander the streets with broomsticks in the hunt for treats. The tradition is said to have come from the belief that witches would fly to Germany and cavort with Satan. Bonfires are meant to scare them away.

10. Here we eat eggs, in England they roll them. Egg rolling is still a popular sport in the United Kingdom. People compete by rolling eggs down large hills. The ones that roll the furthest or survive the most competitions win.

Sunrise services, egg hunts, decorated baskets, a special family meal and (hopefully) lots of chocolate…how will you make the day, if it’s different than an ordinary Sunday for you?

Not to ignore Passover, Here’s an article from USA’s Today’s Cathy Lynn Grossman about the many, many ways to hold a Seder, which ends with the question: How would you tell the Exodus story in modern terms?

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, may a sense of spring and renewal be upon you.

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30 Comments on “What’s part of your holiday weekend?”

  1. JDM says:

    A very profound thing happened about 2000 years ago. A dead man left his grave, alive, and didn’t return to the ground. Instead, he rose on a cloud, into the heavens. It has only happened once, so far.

    We know it was about the time of year of the Jewish passover, because the traditional passover lamb was a type, or foreshadow, of the person whose blood would cover the sins of mankind.

  2. Jim Bullard says:

    For JDM’s education from Wikipedia: “A dying god, also known as a dying-and-rising or resurrection deity, is a god who dies and is resurrected or reborn, in either a literal or symbolic sense. Male examples include the ancient Near Eastern and Greek deities Baal, Melqart, Adonis, Eshmun, Attis Tammuz, Asclepius, Orpheus, as well as Krishna, Ra, Osiris, Jesus, Zalmoxis, Dionysus, and Odin.

    Female examples are Inanna, also known as Ishtar, whose cult dates to 4000 BCE, and Persephone, the central figure of the Eleusinian Mysteries, whose cult may date to 1700 BCE as the unnamed goddess worshiped in Crete.

  3. Pete Klein says:

    Church, family and dinner.

  4. JDM says:

    for Jim Bullard’s education, “in either a literal or symbolic sense”. Jesus was the literal kind.

  5. JDM says:

    I can’t think of any others, right off hand.

  6. Jim Bullard says:

    Were you there JDM?

  7. Jim Bullard says:

    The original question was “What’s part of your holiday weekend?” and my answer is “pondering”. I’m pondering why it is that the major Christian holidays celebrate the ‘magical’ aspects of the man rather than what he taught. It occurs to me that 1) whether or not he was born of a virgin and/or was bodily resurrected have no bearing whatsoever on the intrinsic value what he taught about how we should live and 2) it is the exclusivity of those claims that have fostered pogroms, inquisitions and wars that have caused much of the suffering throughout history down to the present day. Suffering that could have been avoided simply by heeding the teachings instead of the claims of his Godhood made by others after his death.

    Had his followers heeded the admonitions to “love your neighbor”, the instructions to forgive others, to exercise charity, to not judge others, etc. rather than focusing on his alleged exclusive status in relation to God, the history of the last 2 thousand years would be a much more pleasant read. You, JDM, choose to believe that the Easter account is literal truth and find comfort in that. I choose to believe that it is myth intended to confer divine authority on the teachings and I am saddened that the focus on the magical aspects of the Christmas and Easter stories has, more often than not, overshadowed the teachings themselves and lead to actions contrary to what he taught.

  8. Lucy Martin says:

    Oh dear! The post was not intended to prove or disprove anything, or to require anyone to defend their beliefs.

    That each may choose her or his own spiritual path is a wonderful, precious thing – including the right to doubt or reject spirituality.

    I’m rather fond of the old saying: “honorable people can disagree honorably”.

    Please enjoy a happy, meaningful weekend. (Individual meaning _will_ vary.)

  9. Walker says:

    Not to worry, Lucy. I’m sure that JDM was delighted with the opportunity to flaunt his possession of The One and Only Truth.

  10. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    How very Canadian of you!
    Don’t worry, even atheists enjoy chocolate. And I’ll be happy to raise a glass to Jesus’ resurrection. Or Passover. It’s all good.

  11. JDM says:

    Walker: “JDM was delighted with the opportunity to flaunt his possession of The One and Only Truth.”

    One day a year, maybe. Then we go back to hearing the One and Only Truth on global warming, evolution, and socialism by their respective possessors.

    Happy Easter! The Lord is risen!

  12. Two Cents says:

    has he seen his shadow ? how many weeks of winter then?

  13. Jim Bullard says:

    FWIW I am not an atheist. Quite the contrary. I am concerned that we celebrate that which divides us over honoring the teachings and examples of those who would unite us. And yes KHL I do like chocolate.

  14. Pete Klein says:

    Jim, I couldn’t agree more and just got back from Easter Service.
    While there and hearing the “I believe” stuff, I couldn’t help but note how never was it said, “I believe in the teachings of Jesus.” It was all about believing in all of dogma of miracles and magic. So sad.

  15. Walker says:

    That’s because the teachings of Jesus are fairly antithetical to the American way of capitalism, and our criminal justice system, and our military industrial complex.

  16. Walker says:

    Mark 8:36: For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

    Matthew 19:24: Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

    Contrast these messages to the latest New York Times story on executive compensation.

    Jesus was a dangerous radical.

  17. Mervel says:

    Jesus WAS a dangerous radical and indeed material things of this earth only get in the way of our salvation. Praise God they are meaningless!

  18. Mervel says:

    Scripture indeed goes so far as to tell us that even the desire to be rich is wrong. We certainly can have wealth, but if that is our desire on this earth we have problems with Christ.

  19. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if more Christians heeded Jesus!

  20. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    This thread is funnier than SNL.

  21. Mervel says:

    Which Christians Knuckle?

    I don’t think we can make any sort of judgements on that question. What we can do is by very happy that Jesus did come and die and rise for all of us.

    We have so much to be happy for this day. I do think if you read the bible we will see that many of the teachings of Jesus at a very base level are un-American in the sense that Jesus says that everything we have is a gift, we have not earned anything, including our wealth if we have any, our body or our brains or our so called successes, as Paul says what do you have that you did not receive and if you did indeed receive it how can you boast, about anything? St. Paul also says look around; not many wise not many wealthy not many powerful are called to be followers of Christ.

  22. JDM says:

    khl: “Wouldn’t it be great if more Christians heeded Jesus!”

    Here’s my take on your (correct) observation.

    Coming to Jesus is done through belief. Jesus, the judge, commutes a death sentence on the believer. The Bible describes it as adoption.

    No change in the individual has taken place at that instant. A “legal” transfer is all that has transpired.

    Just like adopting a child at a mature age, the child will continue to act similar to their old behavior patterns, even though they have been adopted into a new family.

    Jesus promises a lifetime of transformation, whereby the believer will become “more like Jesus” over the remainder of their life. Just like adoption, where the child will begin to act more like the adoptive father because they start to spend time together.

    Over time, on lookers will begin a change in the adopted child, and say, “he is acting more like his new dad”. Even if the change were undetectable, the child’s adoption is legally binding, and not dependent on behavior change.

    Belief determines the destiny of a Christian. How well a Christian “behaves” determines their reward or lack, thereof.

    Belief determines the destiny of a non-believer. Their behavior will determine their punishment after they are judged.

  23. George Nagle says:

    Since the thread of this post became a discussion of Christian belief (I believe to the surprise of its author, Lucy Martin) for those who may be interested here is Rowan Williams’ Easter sermon: http://www.aco.org/acns/news.cfm/2012/4/8/ACNS5085

    Williams addresses belief and behavior.

  24. Walker says:

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    What more do we need?

  25. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    I’m happy enough to go along with Mervel’s take on Christianity (except I wouldn’t agree that it is un-American to think that everything we have is a gift) but I’m not taking any responsibility for Jesus’ death. He didn’t die for me and I’d be fine with him living a long and happy life because he did have lots of good stuff to tell people.

    I can even go along with JDM in that many people can get a lot of good from trying to be more like Jesus. I can’t go along with the bit -

    “Belief determines the destiny of a Christian. How well a Christian “behaves” determines their reward or lack, thereof.
    Belief determines the destiny of a non-believer. Their behavior will determine their punishment after they are judged.”

    I wont be threatened into doing good nor do I expect any reward for doing good other than the satisfaction that it gives. If that means I go to hell, so be it.

  26. Mervel says:

    I believe that He did die for you just as much as He died for me, and this is a good thing not something bad. It is why we are no different from each other in the eye’s of God.

    But anyway happy Easter Monday!

  27. Walker says:

    “It is why we are no different from each other in the eye’s of God.”

    Uh, what about us non-believers? Last I heard, we were in big trouble.

  28. mervel says:

    I don’t know I am not God (we can all be thankful for that!), but I do believe based on scripture that God loves you exactly the same as myself.

    Which is also slightly un-American, I mean we believe in a get what you deserve, earn your way, who is in who is out kind of mentality, but according to Christian scripture this is exactly backward.

  29. Walker says:

    Lord knows I’m no expert, but I thought I was born in sin and thus condemned to hellfire and damnation unless I accept Jesus as my savior.

  30. Mervel says:

    I think CS Lewis had it correct; “as Christians we believe that all are saved only through Christ, what we don’t know is if all who are saved through Christ will know that to be the case, but if we are worried about it we should certainly follow our Lord”. That is a bad paraphrase, it is out of “mere Christianity”.

    I don’t believe according to Scripture and according to tradition that there is salvation outside of Christ, however I would never be so bold as to claim that I know how Christ is exactly going to do that.

    So as a person who is saved by grace (meaning I did nothing) how can I then shut that grace out from someone else! Good news is good news.

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