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  • Chicks, Bonnets and Chocolate Eggs: Learning About Easter Traditions in English

    As we regularly see in these posts, learning a language is about so much more than simply vocabulary and grammar. It is also about the traditions and customs that are practiced in countries where the language is spoken.

    We are about to celebrate Easter and this is a great opportunity to learn some new traditions and the vocabulary that surrounds them in Anglophone countries.

    Easter Traditions

    Easter Saturday is generally spent decorating boiled eggs and then hiding them around the house and garden. On Easter Sunday, children look for them in what is called an Easter egg hunt. Parents tell their children that the eggs have been brought by the Easter bunny in an Easter basket. People also exchange gifts of chocolate eggs.

    Many families observe the religious aspect of Easter as they day in which the bible tells us Jesus was Resurrected from the dead. Easter Sunday mass is one of the most popular ceremonies in the liturgical (religious) calendar. If people do not attend Sunday mass they can attend the Easter Vigil, a mass which takes place on Easter Saturday night. This is a ceremonial event with many candles and priests dressed in special robes. Easter marks the end of the 40 day period of penitence, fasting and self-denial called Lent.

    Easter Sunday dinner is another important part of the day. It is common to eat roast lamb or roast ham. This is normally served with baked potatoes, a selection of vegetables and dressing.

    Hot-cross buns are a special sweet treat at Easter. They contain dried fruits like sultanas, raisins and citrus fruits as well as spices. They are marked with a cross on top as a symbol of the cross on which Jesus was crucified. 

    In the United Kingdom, Easter Sunday afternoon can be spent participating in a competition called pace-egging in which decorated Easter eggs are rolled down grassy hills. Those who compete in the game are called pace-eggers. 

    Girls can compete in Easter bonnet competitions when they wear special hats they have decorated with flowers, eggs, ribbons and Easter chicks (baby chickens). 

    Questions

    What Easter traditions do you practice?

    Which traditions mentioned above are similar to the customs of your country?

    Is Easter an important celebration in your country?

    Let’s watch a video on making Easter eggs for the young and the young at heart in your life this Easter.

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