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Celebrating Easter American-Style – How to Do It Right

Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ after the crucifixion by the Romans.

In the U.S., Easter marks the beginning of a season for hope. Americans celebrate Easter with games, food, and family. The religious practices change according to the denominations, but one thing remains: cheerful festivities with family and friends.

Here are some of the nuanced traditions in American Easter and why they take place.

Adding Some Color to the Celebrations by Dying Eggs

Dying eggs the day before Easter is an enjoyable way to get children interested in the holiday. But, it’s not all about having fun. Dying eggs has a deep symbolism to it.

The hard eggshell is meant to represent the tomb of Christ. Traditionally, they color the eggs red to depict the blood of Christ. Cracking the egg open symbolizes the resurrection of Christ from the dead.

In other cultures, eggs represent new life, which is thought to arrive with spring. Coloring and decorating eggs were meant to assure the return of spring and protect families.

Getting a Personalized Easter Basket

On Christmas morning, you wake up to a mound of presents under the Christmas tree. Getting an Easter basket is similar to that tradition.

Children set out their baskets, and the Easter Bunny pops in overnight to leave candy and other presents for the children. Well, that’s the belief anyway.

Usually, parents are tasked with filling up their children’s Easter baskets overnight. This tradition symbolizes receiving sweets and other pleasures that people had given up for Lent.  

Games Played At Easter

When family and friends get together, it’s a great excuse to eat until you can’t move, and have fun like there’s no tomorrow. Celebrating Easter is no different. Here are some of the most popular Easter games played in the U.S.:

1. Easter Egg Hunt

You can’t celebrate American Easter properly without an egg hunt. The myth is that the Easter Bunny comes at night to hide eggs around the house. The next morning, the children must find all the eggs and claim the prize.

Traditionally, eggs of all species are hidden. The challenge is to find the most eggs, or the biggest one. Whoever wins gets a prize at the end.

Today, however, the practice has slightly shifted. Parents buy hollow plastic eggs and fill them with goodies. Whoever finds the egg gets to keep whatever treat they find inside. They are usually filled with candy, but the eggs can be filled with whatever the parent or guardian chooses. 

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2. Easter Egg Roll

This is a tradition that is popular in Washington D.C. More specifically, at the White House.

The President and the First Lady invite children to their residence, only to pit them against each other in some friendly competition. The egg roll happens on Easter Monday on the White House Lawn.

The eggs are rolled with a long-handled spoon across the length of the field. The participants are all given presents to take home with them.

3. Egg Tapping

This game was started to test out which farmer grew the strongest egg. In preparation, farmers would start feeding their chickens with special feed months in advance.

Today, it is just a fun game to see who ends up with the egg that didn’t crack. One boiled egg is distributed to each player. Two players have to tap the pointed side of their eggs together. The player holding the egg that cracks is eliminated.

Have a Bite of Traditional Easter Food

Like Thanksgiving’s turkey and pumpkin pie, Easter has its own share of traditional food. These are a few of them:

1. Ham

Ham is one of the few types of meat that is easily frozen. After a long winter, ham is often the only protein remaining. This is why ham is popular on the Easter table.

Traditionally, the cook scores the ham with a diamond pattern, and slow-cooks the meat. 

2. Deviled Eggs

All the decorated eggs can’t go to waste, can they? Many times, the boiled eggs are eaten on their own, but people also opt to make delicious dishes like deviled eggs or egg sandwiches.

3. Hot Cross Buns

There are so many beliefs around having Hot Cross Buns on Easter. But, do we really need an excuse to eat delicious, sweet buns?

These buns are marked with a cross, either cut into the dough or piped with icing. This is to depict the holy cross.

Easter Fashion Traditions

Easter is considered the celebration of the birth of a new life. In keeping with that, it is auspicious to don new clothes. Some people even take part in parades.

Usually, Easter colors are pastels, and the style is church-appropriate clothing. For example, a pastel summer dress, or a semi-formal outfit.

The tradition of wearing new clothes on Easter is so popular that there are numerous fashion shows to flaunt your Easter outfits. The NYC Fifth Avenue Fashion Walk is perhaps the most popular one of them all. It began as a way for the wealthy to show off their riches. But now, it is simply an excuse to put together elaborate outfits.

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Religious Traditions

Games and food aside, the religious aspects of Easter cannot be overlooked.

1. Observing Lent

Lent is the 40-day period before Easter which begins on Ash Wednesday. There is usually an Ash Wednesday service to mark the beginning of Lent. It mimics the 40 days that Jesus Christ spent in the desert.

During these 40 days, participants pledge themselves to help others. They also give up their favorite activities and food. By doing so, they get the opportunity to reflect and repent for their sins.

There are different versions of the fast in different sects of the religion. But, the overall intention of it is to grow and become a better person. In the U.S., social media, alcohol, and chocolate are popularly given up.

2. Good Friday

The Friday before Easter Sunday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Many undergo a complete fast on Good Friday.

There is usually a church service, but it’s unlike any other. All candlesticks, altar cloths, crosses, and holy water is removed. People traditionally wear black to the service; the color worn at funerals.

No bells are rung at the church until Easter Sunday. That is also when they return all the crosses and cloths.

3. Easter Service

Every religious person attends church on Easter Sunday. The Sunday Service is usually the most crowded one. Some denominations of Christianity even keep a vigil the entire night before Easter.

Many churches hold a Sunrise Service. The Easter Service is usually accompanied by food, picnics, and sometimes even a parade.

Even if you aren’t one for religious traditions, you can enjoy Easter. Dress up as the Easter Bunny, feast on food, and have an unforgettable time.

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