The true meaning of Easter

Easter falls on April 20

Easter Sunday is nearly here and in Ireland it is as big a holiday as Christmas. After 40 days of fasting, chocolate eggs may be what some look forward to most but they do have a symbolic significance to the true meaning of Easter.

Easter celebrates the resurrection of our Lord Jesus and new life, and Easter eggs are symbolic of the risen Christ. The chick hatching from the eggs reflects Jesus rising from the dead and leaving the tomb. At this time of the year we see the arrival of lots of new life; the lambs and calves in the fields, and the chicks following the hen. Some petting farms allow the public to watch the birthing of new lambs. During the Easter holidays, visit a petting farm together as a family.

In Ireland, Easter Monday is traditionally spent together as a family. One of the biggest traditions on this day is to boil eggs, paint or dye them and roll them down the highest hill you can find. Rolling eggs is a fun game, particularly when it is made into a competition. The challenge is to crack the shell off the egg completely. This may mean running up and down a hill several times but it is great exercise. Whoever cracks their shell off first, wins. You can prepare the eggs on Easter Sunday, and make it an activity for all the family. Duck eggs are ideal for this as their shells are tougher than hen eggs.

Reflect on what you have learned from fasting this Lent and if it has been an improvement in your life continue to practise this. For example, if you have sacrificed something such as watching TV, you can make a note of this and instead reduce the time you spend in front of the TV.

Here is a prayer to recite this Easter:

Lord, the resurrection of Your Son
has given us new life and renewed hope.
Help us to live as new people
in pursuit of the Christian ideal.
Grant us wisdom to know what we must do,
the will to want to do it,
the courage to undertake it,
the perseverance to continue to do it,
and the strength to complete it.