At Easter Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, the Easter celebration circle begins earlier.
Ash Wednesday, which falls in the week after Shrove Tuesday, is first followed by a 40-day fast.
On Palm Sunday, one week before Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The following Holy Thursday is the day on which the Last Supper of Jesus is celebrated with his disciples, Good Friday is the day on which the death of Jesus on the cross is commemorated, Holy Saturday is the day of rest at the tomb, and finally on Easter Sunday the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is celebrated.
Easter is actually an ancient pagan tradition.
Its roots lie in the pre-Christian era. Our ancestors were very close to nature and organized their celebration according to the natural events. Easter therefore always falls on the first Sunday after the full moon, which follows the beginning of spring, when day and night are of equal length. Therefore Easter is celebrated on a different day every year.
The name Easter is probably connected with the cardinal point "East". The sun rises in the east, bringing life-giving power in spring after the cold and dark period.
Easter egg and Easter bunny
The Easter egg and the Easter bunny are the most famous symbols of Easter time. Both are old fertility symbols. The egg is the source of life and the origin of being and becoming. The sense of the easter egg as we know it today has only been used for five centuries. In the past, Easter eggs were coloured exclusively red (red is the colour of life, blood and love). So it is also a symbol of fertility and life.
At Easter, children are especially looking forward to searching for the colourful eggs and sweets hidden by the "Easter Bunny".
The Easter candle - eternal light
The Easter candle is lit in South Tyrol from the Easter vigil to the feast of Ascension Day at every church service and every baptism. The light of the candle illuminates the darkness and is therefore considered a sign of life. The Easter candle is traditionally lit on the Easter Vigil at the Easter fire, so that death must give way to life and darkness to light.
On the Easter candle there are symbols of the holy cross, the year, "Alpha" and "Omega". Red or golden wax nails represent the wounds of Christ.
The custom of the Easter candle ties in with a pagan tradition. In ancient times, the sacrifice often included a hymn praising the deity to whom the sacrifice was made. Originally the Easter candle is a burnt offering and the Easter praise is similar to a hymn. The pagan origin was forgotten and some interpretation of the Easter candle developed. The expensive beeswax is said to be a symbol of Christ's human nature, or his transfigured body after the resurrection, while the flame is said to be a sign of his divine nature.
Other Easter customs in South Tyrol
In addition to Easter eggs, Easter bunny and traditional Easter pastries, many families in South Tyrol duel each other at Easter at the so-called "Eierpecken"
One week before Easter, on Palm Sunday, the "Palmbuschen"
are bound and blessed in the church.
At the same time, things get exciting at home: After all, who is the "Palmesel" this time? It is the last person of the family to get out of bed!
Easter tradition at a glance:
Palm Sunday: "Palm bush" consecration; the last one to get up is the "Palmesel"
Maundy Thursday: traditionally Easter eggs are coloured
Good Friday: strict fasting day
Easter Saturday: various dishes are carried in a basket into the church and consecrated
Easter Sunday: consecrated food is consumed; Easter egg hunt; egg rolls...