Youtube: Zombies by Cranberries
Easter In Ireland
It is that time of the year when painting eggs become your hobby. That’s right! Its Easter time and by the end of this weekend, the world will be celebrating Easter with much pomp and fervor. Although people from around the world have different ways of celebrating this ancient festival, and much of the older traditions have given way to more modern celebrations, there’s at least one community that like to celebrate the festival like the way their ancestors had been doing for ages…The Irish of course.
Most Important Festival
Apart from Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day, Easter is the most important religious holiday in Ireland’s calendar. The celebration culminates with a gathering of family and friends and everyone’s favourite food, usually chocolates or any other food, that was given up for the Lent period, is eaten.
Although many of the older traditions remain in place, some of them have not. Today, Easter in Ireland is celebrated in much the same way as in most western countries, with Easter Holidays, Easter Eggs and also a visit from the Easter Bunny.
Easter is named after the ancient Pagan Goddess of Spring, ‘Eostre.’ In Ireland, preparation for Easter usually starts on the on the first day of Lent, 40 days of before Easter Sunday. From the first days of Lent, Irish people not only would traditionally stop eating meat but also quit their favourite food, alcohol, cigarettes and even restrain themselves from watching television! During the Lenten period, Fish is eaten, which is usually cooked in a soup.
Many of the Irish traditions have their roots back in the time before Christianity. The early traditional Easter icons were originally Anglo Saxon fertility symbols, including the egg, of course. The Irish believe in these symbols and they celebrate Easter with chocolate Easter Eggs and painted Easter Eggs. The streets are decked with green and yellow ribbons and banners.
Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday that comes after the first full moon after the first day or spring, which is why it can occur any time between March 22 and April 25. The religious significance of Easter is widely celebrated in Ireland and the Catholic traditions are more strictly adhered to than in many other countries.
Before Easter comes, according to the Irish traditions, houses are thoroughly cleaned and white-washed and on Good Friday, fasting is followed quite strictly with some devout believers not consuming food until midday. Usually, a few sips of water and a single piece of bread is consumed to honour the Holy Trinity.
Some Unusual Beliefs
When it comes to legends and beliefs, the Irish people are a superstitious lot. From believing in ghosts and chicken walking into the house, there are a handful of unique superstitions that the Irish accept as true.
Some of the unusual beliefs related to Easter in Ireland include:
- Cutting one’s hair to prevent headaches during the year,
- Remaining quiet from 12noon to late in the afternoon,
- Visiting graveyards and holy wells, etc. among others.
Apart from these, like in other communities, having cakes and chocolates and celebrating with eggs are an essential part of Easter celebrations in Ireland.
Easter in Ireland needs a special mention of the famous Easter Rising of 1916. The Easter Rising, also known as the Easter Rebellion, was an armed insurrection staged in Ireland during the Easter week of 1916. The Rising ended the British rule in Ireland and established an independent Irish Republic. It was one of the most significant uprisings in Ireland.
Although that was a long time ago, the Easter Rising made it’s way into the pop culture with the Irish Band, Cranberries, when their song, Zombies hit the top chart.