Easter (Пасха)


                                    Plan.

     I. The moral lessons given us by Jesus.
    II. When is an Easter?
   III. Eastertide.
    IV. Easter egg and Easter hare.
     V. Thoughts from Ireland.
    VI. Easter in England.
   VII. Easter in Ukraine and Russia


                   I. The moral lessons given us by Jesus.
      Celebrating Easter, seeing the happy faces of people  around,  hearing
the joyful announcements “Christ is risen”, and,  on  the  whole,  enjoining
these God-blessed sunny spring days, let us pause for a  moment  and  ponder
on some of the moral lessons given us by Jesus.
      We well know that Christianity is ethical  through  and  through,  but
strange as it may seem, the moral teaching of Christ  himself  is  not  very
circumstantial. On the contrary, He appears rather terse on  these  matters,
and it is in His deeds, not words, that  the  larger  part  of  His  mission
found  its  expression.  As  a  person,  with  all  His   inclinations   and
intentions, He does not seem to be  a  determined  moral  reformer,  not  to
speak of a revolutionary; and he was not in the least a scholar or a man  of
letters. He wrote nothing. He mowed quietly and slowly  along  the  highways
and among the villages of Galilee and Judea and spoke to  people  not  about
any intricate problems of human existence, or theology, or the mysteries  of
life and death, but about things which belonged to the realm of daily  life;
and the words he chose for that were the words of common men, not  those  of
a professor of ethics.
      He summed up His “theology” in an amazingly short  and  simple  phrase
“God is love”; and meeting people He very often did not teach  them,  as  He
actually did from time to time,  but  offered  them  a  ready  sympathy  and
understanding, even to the degraded and the outcast. To  them  He  spoke  in
the language of tolerance and benevolence, forgiveness and mercy.  That  was
His love –  and  that  was  the  beginning  of  the  moral  revolution  that
transformed the world.

                            II. When is a Easter?
      The greatest Christian festival of the year is Easter. It is either in
March or  in  April,  and  millions  of  people  joyously  observe  Christ’s
resurrection. This holy day never comes before March 22 or after April 25.
      When is an Easter? That, of course, is celebrated on the first  Sunday
after the paschal moon, which is the first full moon that occurs on or  next
after the vernal equinox, March, 21st. So all you need to do is look at  the
sky? Afraid not. For the moon in question  is  not  the  real  moon,  but  a
hypothetical moon. This one goes round the earth one month in 29  days,  the
next in 30 days, though with certain modifications to make the date of  both
the real and fictional full moons coincide as nearly as possible. It  yields
a date for Easter that can be as early as March 22nd and as  late  as  April
25th. Today, Easters variability  suits  antiquarians,  and  the  makers  of
pocket diaries, many of which devote a  Full  page  to  the  calculation  of
Easter in perpetuity. But, nearly 1,700 years on, it does not suit those  in
(mostly European) countries such as Britain  and  Germany  where  both  Good
Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays. Early Easters are too cold  to
enjoy. Late Easters are jammed up against the May Day public holiday.

                              III. Eastertide.
      Passion Sunday or Care Sunday two  Sundays  before  Easter,  is  still
known as Carling Sunday in parts of  the  north  of  England.  Carlings  are
small dried peas, which are soaked in water overnight and then fried  in  an
almost dry pan – when they start to burst they are ready. Greengrocers  sell
them, pubs serve them, and people eat them at home in a basin with  a  small
piece of butter and plenty of pepper and salt. There seems  to  be  no  good
reason, apart from the strength of the tradition,  why  they  are  eaten  on
this day.
      Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter; for people  near  Marlborough
in Wiltshire it meant following a long-established custom  in  which  willow
hazel sprays – representing palm – were carried up Martinsell Hill.
      Maundy Thursday is the Thursday  before  Easter:  the  ‘royal  maundy’
describes the gift which for the last five  hundred  ears  or  so  has  been
given out by the sovereign on Maundy Thursday to as many men  and  woman  as
there are years in his or her age. Once it  was  clothing  which  was  given
out, now it is a sum of money; on odd – numbered years the ceremony  usually
takes place at Westminster Abbey, in even – numbered ones  at  a  church  or
cathedral elsewhere in the country – though  1989  seems  to  have  been  an
exception, for the distribution took place at Birmingham Cathedral in  honor
of the centenary of the city’s incorporation.
      On Good Friday, the day of the crucifixion, hot cross buns are  always
eaten as a sign of remembrance, and in some baker’s shops  and  supermarkets
they are on sale for many  weeks  before.  It  is  a  nationwide  tradition,
though hot cross buns were unknown in some places  –  Bath,  for  example  –
until the twentieth century. The buns may in fact pre –  date  Christianity,
since  bread  consecrated  to  the  Roman  gods  was   marked   with   lines
intersecting at right angels.
      People celebrate the  holiday  according  to  the  beliefs  and  their
religious denominations. Christians commemorate Good Friday as the day  that
Jesus Christ died and Easter Sunday as the  day  that  He  was  resurrected.
Protestant settlers brought the custom of a  sunrise  service,  a  religious
gathering at dawn, to the United States.
      Today on Easter Sunday, children wake up to find that the Easter Bunny
has left them baskets of candy. He  has  also  hidden  the  eggs  that  they
decorated earlier that week. Children hunt  for  the  eggs  all  around  the
house. Neighborhoods and organizations hold Easter egg hunts, and the  child
who finds the most eggs wins a prize.
      In England, children rolled eggs down hills on Easter morning, a  game
which has been connected  to  the  rolling  away  of  the  rock  from  Jesus
Christ’s tomb when He was resurrected. British settlers brought this  custom
to the New World.
      One unusual Easter Sunday  tradition  can  be  seen  at  Radley,  near
Oxford, where parishioners ‘clip’ or embrace their church – they join  hands
and make a human chain round it. It is Easter Monday, however, which sees  a
veritable wealth of traditional  celebrations  throughout  the  country:  to
name bat’ a few, there is morris dancing  in  many  tows,  including  a  big
display at Thaxted in Essex; orange rolling, perhaps  a  descendant  of  egg
roiling, which takes place on  Dunstable  Downs  in  Bedfordshire;  and  for
perhaps eight hundred years or more there has been a  distribution  of  food
at the Kent village of Biddenden, ten miles from Ashford.
      Then there is Leicestershire’s famous hare – pie scramble and bottle –
kicking which also takes place on Easter Monday; and another custom kept  up
in many parts of England and Wales and called  ‘lifting’  or  ‘heaving’  was
taken by some to symbolize Christ’s resurrection. On Easter Monday  the  men
lifted any woman they could find, and the women reciprocated  the  following
day; the person was taken by the  four  limbs  and  lifted  three  times  to
shoulder height. When objections were made that this was ‘a  rude,  indecent
and dangerous diversion’ a chair bedecked with ribbons and flowers was  used
instead – it was lifted with its victim, turned three times, and put down.
                             The Easter parade.
      The origin  of  this  very  picturesque  traditional  occasion,  known
affectionately as Easter Parade and starting at 3 o’clock in  the  afternoon
of Easter  Sunday,  is  not  as  remote,  or  mysterious,  as  many  of  the
traditions and customs of England; there is no religious,  or  superstitious
significance attached to it whatsoever.
      In 1858 Queen Victoria gave it the ultimate cachet  of  respectability
and class by paying it a state visit in the spring.  For  the  occasion  she
wore, of course, a new spring bonnet and gown. This set the  fashion  for  a
display each spring of the newest fashions in millinery and gowns, and  from
then onwards that traditions has expanded; every society lady vied with  her
rivals to appear in something more spectacular than anything that  had  seen
before.

                       IV. Easter egg and Easter hare.
      An egg has a symbolical meaning in many  centuries.  It’s  well  known
that eggs had a special significance even in the times  of  ancient  Romans.
Eggs were their first disk during meals (“ab ovo”) and  they  were  also  in
the center of competition as a memory  of  Zeus’s  sons,  who  hatched  from
eggs. Such competition took place in France, Germany, and Switzerland.  Eggs
was  a  sign  of  hope,  life  fertility  even  in  the  early   epoch.   In
Christianity, the Lord’s gift,  which  has  begun  in  Jesus  Christ.  Eggs’
spreading as the Easter symbols turned to be possible because they sewed  as
an original rent or as a tax. The Easter was one of the days when  this  pay
could be accomplished.
      Excavations witness that traditions of paintings  on  eggs  have  been
existing for 5000 years and have their  regional  peculiarities.  Especially
in Slavonic countries eggs are  decorated  with  many  colored  pictures  of
Christian motives. As expensive souvenirs it was a habit to give  eggs  made
of noble metals, marble, was and wood.
      The Easter hare, which, children believe, brings the Easter eggs,  may
be understood as a transformed Easter lamb. In  those  places,  where  there
was no sheepbreeding, a hare substituted for a sheep  in  the  Raster  meal.
Due to its ability not to sleep the hare become a symbol of resurrection  of
Jesus Christ.

                                Easter Eggs.
      Wherever Easter is celebrated, there Easter eggs  are  usually  to  be
found.  In  their  modern  form,  they  are  frequently   artificial,   mere
imitations of the real thing, made of chocolate or marzipan or sugar, or  of
two pieces of coloured and decorated cardboard fitted together  to  make  an
eggs-shaped case containing some small gift. These are the  Easter  eggs  of
commerce, which now appear in shop-windows almost as soon as, and  sometimes
even before, Ash Wednesday is past, and by  so  doing  lose  much  of  their
original festival significance.
      This is a real egg, hard-boiled, died in bright colours, and sometimes
elaborately decorated. In still appears upon countless  breakfast-tables  on
Eater Day, or is hidden about the house  and  garden  for  the  children  to
find. In some European countries, including  England,  the  Easter  Hare  is
said to bring the Easter eggs, and to conceal them in  odd  corners  of  the
gardens, stables, or outbuildings.
      Because eggs are obvious symbols of continuing life and  resurrection,
the pagan peoples of ancient China, Egypt, Greece,  and  Persia  used  them,
centuries before tile first Easter Day, at the great Spring Festivals,  when
the revival of all things in Nature was celebrated.
      Colouring  and  decorating  the  festival  eggs  seems  to  have  been
customary since time immemorial. And old Polish legend says  that  Our  Lady
herself painted eggs red, blue, and green to amuse  the  Infant  Jesus,  and
that since then all good polish mothers have done  the  same  at  Easter.  A
Romanian tale says that the vivid red shade,  which  is  a  favorite  almost
everywhere, represents the blood of Christ.
      There are many ways of tinting and decorated the eggs, some simple and
some requiring a high degree of skill. They can be dipped  into  a  prepared
dye or, more usually boiled in it, or they may be boiled inside  a  covering
of onion-peel. Ordinary commercial dyes are often used today  for  coloring,
but originally only natural ones, obtained  from  flowers,  leaves,  mosses,
bark, wood-chips, or  other  sources,  were  employed.  In  England,  gorse-
blossom was commonly used for yellow, cochineal for  scarlet,  and  logwood-
chips for a rich purple.
      In Switzerland, minute flowers and leaves are sometimes  laid  on  the
egg underneath the onion-peel to make a white flower-pattern on  the  yellow
or brown surface.
      The decoration of Easter eggs is a traditional peasant art in  Eastern
and Central Europe. Favorite designs vary in different regions. In  Hungary,
red flower-patterns  on  a  white  ground  are  often  seen;  sometimes  the
decorated  eggs  are  fitted  with  tiny  metal  shoes,  with  minute  spurs
attached, and curious little metal hangers. In Yugoslavia,  the  letters  XV
usually form part of the design. They stand for Christos  Vaskrese,  meaning
‘Christ is risen’, which  is  the  traditional  Easter  greeting  of  Easter
Europe. Russian eggs are  sometimes  elaborately  decorated  with  miniature
picture  of  the  saints,  or  of  Our  Lord.  Polish  designs   are   often
geometrical, or abstract, or they may include Christian  symbols,  like  the
Gross or Fish, mixed with pagan emblems of new life. Painted  eggs  of  this
type, know as pisanki, always appear on the Easter Table.
      In  some  East  European  countries,  scarlet  eggs,  as  symbols   of
resurrection, are placed on, or buried in, the graves of  the  family  dead.
The latter custom was known in northern England until about  the  middle  of
last century. One or two of the most beautifully ornamented Pace-eggs –  the
name by which Easter eggs are still most commonly  called  in  the  northern
counties – would be saved and kept  in  tall  ale  –  glasses  in  a  corner
cupboard, or some other place where they could be easily seen. In  Scotland,
Easter eggs are often called Peace or Paiss eggs.  ‘Pace’  and  ‘Paiss’  are
all corruptions of Pasch, or Paschal, of which  the  original  root  is  the
Hebrew word pisach meaning Passover.
      In parts of Germany during the early 1880s,  Easter  eggs  substituted
for birth certificates. An egg was dyed a solid color, then a design,  which
included the recipient’s name and birth date,  was  etched  into  the  shell
with a needle or sharp tool. Such Easter eggs were honored in law courts  as
evidence of identity and age.
                                Easter Bunny.
That a rabbit, or more accurately a hare, became a  holiday  symbol  can  be
traced to the origin of the word “Easter”. According to the Venerable  Bede,
the English historian who lived from 672 to  735,  the  goddess  Easter  was
worshiped by the Anglo – Saxons through her earthly symbol, the hare.
      The custom of the Easter hare came to America  with  the  Germans  who
immigrated to Pennsylvania in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
      From Pennsylvania, they gradually spread out to  Virginia,  North  and
South Carolina, Tennessee, New York, and Canada, taking their  customs  with
them. Most eighteenth – century Americans, however,  were  of  more  austere
religious denominations, such as Quaker,  Presbyterian,  and  Puritan.  They
virtually ignored such a seemingly frivolous symbol as a white rabbit.  More
than a hundred years passed before this Teutonic Easter tradition  began  to
gain acceptance in America. In fact, it was not until after the  Civil  War,
with its Legacy of death and destruction, that the nation as a  whole  began
a widespread observance of Easter it self, led primarily  by  Presbyterians.
They viewed the story  of  resurrection  as  a  source  of  inspiration  and
renewed hope for the millions of bereaved Americans.

                          V. Thoughts from Ireland.
      By tradition, Good Friday has  always  been  a  day  of  mourning  and
fasting, for decorating churches with  branches  of  yew  (palm)  and  other
evergreens, and the ceremonial distribution of gifts to the poor.
      Many Christians fast and attend services between noon and 3 p. m., the
hours Jesus  is  believed  to  have  spent  on  the  cross,  since  the  day
commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus.
      On Easter Sunday the churches are  beautifully  decorated  with  white
lilies. Joyful  religious  music  is  heard  and  sermons  ring  with  hope.
Children and their parents traditionally attend church, usually wearing  new
spring clothes. The mothers  and  their  daughters  wear  colorful  flowered
hats. Many other traditions and popular customs, which probably go  back  to
pagan  times,  are  also  associated  with  Easter  throughout  Europe,  for
example, the sending of Easter cards and the giving  of  Easter  eggs.  Eggs
are a symbol of life and fertility or  recreation  of  spring.  It  was  not
however until the 19th century, that the practice of giving  and  exchanging
eggs at Easter was introduced in England.
      Easter custom, the barrels are gratefully emptied by the participants.
In London there is Easter Parade in Battersea Park. What used to  be  merely
an occasion for sporting the latest fashions in the park  on  Easter  Sunday
has now developed into one of the most spectacular carnival  processions  of
the year, with military bands, decorated floats, Easter Princess, and all.
      Another thing English people traditionally eat at Easter is hot cross-
buns. One would hardly use them to cure whooping cough, but in  bygone  days
buns, which had been baked on Good Friday,  were  thought  to  have  magical
healing powers. Because of the spices they contain,  hot  cross-buns  seldom
go moldy, and even today country housewives hang  a  few  from  the  kitchen
beams to dry. When needed, the buns can be  powdered,  mixed  with  milk  or
water and given as a medicine. Of course, for the magic cure to  work,  they
have to be buns that were actually baked on Good Friday. For Easter  dinners
at family reunions Englishmen traditionally eat baked ham or chicken with  a
famous English apple-pie to follow/
      For a good apple pie you will need:
      1 lb apples (500 gm)
      4 oz flour (100 gm)
      2 oz butter or margarine (50 gm)
      3 oz sugar (75 gm)
      2 oz sultans (50 gm)
      1 oz chopped nuts (25 gm)
      1-teaspoon cinnamon.
      Now  you  can  make  a  real  English  apple  –  pie.  Here  are   the
instructions. Put them in the correct order, and number the  instructions  1
to 6:
      Mix the nuts, sultanas, cinnamon and half the sugar with  the  apples.
Bake in a medium oven (300F) for 30 minutes. Peel and core the  apples.  Cut
them into small pieces and put them into a  baking  dish.  Sieve  the  flour
into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples.
      Rub the soft butter into the flour with your finger – tips.  When  the
butter melts, the mixture will look like bread – crumbs.  Add  the  rest  of
the sugar. And now serve the pie hot with cream. Enjoy it! And  as  Russians
say, Christ is risen! Expecting the answer, Christ is risen indeed!

                           VI. Easter in England.
  Easter it is a time for  the  giving  and  receiving  of  presents  which
traditionally take the form of an Easter egg and hot cross buns. The  Easter
egg is by far the most popular emblem of Easter, but fluffy  little  chicks,
baby rabbits and spring time flowers like daffodils,  dangling  catkins  and
the arum lily are also used to signify the Nature's awakening.
  Nowadays Easter eggs are usually made of chocolate or marzipan or  sugar.
True Easter eggs are hard-boiled, dyed  in  bright  colours,  and  sometimes
elaborately decorated. Colouring and decorating the festival eggs  seems  to
have been customary  since  time  immemorial  They  can  be  dipped  into  a
prepared dye or, more usually, boiled in it, or they may be boiled inside  a
covering of onion peel Natural dyes are often used for coloring today.  They
are obtained from flowers, leaves, mosses, bark, and wood-chips.
  Egg-rolling is a traditional Easter pastime  which  still  flourishes  in
Britain. It takes place on Easter Sunday or Monday, and consists of  rolling
coloured, hard-boiled eggs down a slope until they are  cracked  and  broken
after which they are eaten by their owners. In  some  districts  this  is  a
competitive game. But originally egg-rolling  provided  an  opportunity  for
divination. Each player marked his or her egg with an identifying  sign  and
then watched to see how it sped down the slope. If  it  reached  the  bottom
unscathed, the owner could expect good luck in the future,  but  if  it  was
broken, unfortune would follow before the year was  out,  Eating  hot  cross
buns at breakfast  on  Good  Friday  morning  is  a  custom  which  is  also
flourishing in most English households. Formerly, these round, cakes  marked
with a cross, eaten hot, were made by housewives who rose at dawn;  for  the
purpose, or by local bakers who worked through the night to have them  ready
for delivery to their customers in time  for  breakfast.  There  is  an  old
belief that the true Good Friday bun — that is, one made on the  anniversary
itself — never goes moldy, if  kept  in  a  dry  place.  It  was  once  also
supposed to have curative powers, especially for  ailments  like  dysentery,
diarrhea, whooping cough, and the  complaint  known  as  "summer  sickness".
Within living memory, it was still quite usual in country  districts  for  a
few buns to be hung from the kitchen ceiling until, they  are  needed.  When
illness came the bun was finely grated and mixed  with  milk  or  water,  to
make a medicine, which the patient drank.
                     VIII. Easter in Ukraine and Russia.
      In Ukrainian, Easter is called Velikden (The Great Day). It  has  been
celebrated over a long period of history and has many rich  folk  traditions
that are no longer fully preserved. The  last  Sunday  before  Easter  (Palm
Sunday) is called Willow Sunday (Verbna nedilia). On this  day  pussy-willow
branches are blessed in the church. The people tap one  another  with  these
branches, repeating the wish: ‘Be as tall as the willow, as healthy  as  the
water, and as rich as the earth’.
      The week before Easter, the Great Week  (Holy  Week),  is  called  the
White or Pure Week. During this  time  an  effort  is  made  to  finish  all
fieldwork before Thursday, since from Thursday on work is forbidden. On  the
evening of ‘Pure’ (also called ‘Great’ or  ‘Passion’  [Strasnyi])  Thursday,
the passion (strasti) service is performed, after which  the  people  return
home with lighted candles. Maundy Thursday, called ‘the Eater of  the  dead’
in eastern Ukraine and Russia, is connected with the cult of the  dead,  who
are believed to meet in the church on that night for the Divine Mass.
      On Passion (Strasna) Friday – Good Friday – no work is done.  In  some
localities, the Holy  Shroud  (plashchanytsia)  is  carried  solemnly  three
times around the church  and,  after  appropriate  services,  laid  out  for
public veneration. For three days the community celebrates to the  sound  of
bells and to the singing of spring songs –  vesnianky.  Easter  begins  with
the Easter matins and high mass, during which the pasky (traditional  Easter
breads) and pysanky and krashanky (decorated or  colored  Easter  eggs)  are
blessed in the church. Butter, lard, cheese, roast-suckling  pigs,  sausage,
smoked meat, and  little  napkins  containing  poppy  seeds,  millet,  salt,
pepper, and horseradish are also blessed. After the matins  all  the  people
in the congregation exchange Easter greetings, give  each  other  krashanky,
and then hurry home with their baskets of blessed food.
      The pysanky and krashanky are an old pre-Christian element and have an
important role in the Eater rites. They are given as gifts or  exchanged  as
a sign of affection, and their shells are put  in  water  for  the  rakhmany
(peaceful souls); finally, they are placed on the  graves  of  the  dead  or
buried in graves and the next day are taken  out  and  given  to  the  poor.
Related to the exchange of krashanky is the rite of sprinkling  with  water,
which is still carried on in Western Ukraine. During the  Easter  season  in
Ukraine and  Russia  the  cult  of  the  dead  is  observed.  The  dead  are
remembered on Maundy Thursday and also during the whole week  after  Easter.
For the commemoration of  the  dead  (provody)  the  people  gather  in  the
cemetery by the church, bringing with them a dish containing some  food  and
liquor or wine, which they consume, leaving the rest at the graves.

                             Список литературы.

1. Газета  “The English”, April №14/1996.
2. Газета  “The English”, March №12/1997.
3. Газета  “The English”, March №12/1995.
4. Газета  “English Learner’s digest”, April, 1995.
5. Газета  “English Learner’s digest”, April, 1997.