What do you do to celebrate Easter?

Q: Tell me about Easter.  What do you do to celebrate it?

A: Easter is a strange holiday. It started out as part of a different belief system, but was converted to a Christian holiday, so the accompanying symbolism is a bit of a confusing mess.

The Easter bunny and other spring symbols like chicks are left over from an older, Pagan version of the holiday, and really have nothing at all to do with Christ, Christianity or the resurrection, but rather the return of spring and the fertility of the land (flowers blooming, etc). Sometimes little children ask what the Easter bunny has to do with Jesus, and no one can really answer!

These days, it’s a Christian holiday, and used to be mostly celebrated in church. For example, Catholics have a special mass on Easter, and several other related holidays right around Easter (Lent, Ash Wednesday, etc). In the past, people often got together with their family or church friends on Easter and had a huge dinner, like we usually have on Thanksgiving or Christmas.

These days, Easter is mostly a secular holiday. Some families may still dress up (wear your “Easter best”) and have a large family dinner, but that’s not so common. For most families these days, unless you have children, you do not celebrate Easter.

If you have children, you usually start the day with an Easter egg hunt. The night before Easter, after children go to bed, parents hide colorful eggs (either in the house or in the yard. Some communities have a HUGE egg hunt at a local school or park), then when the children get up in the morning, they hunt around for the eggs. In the past, parents hid the real eggs they had dyed the day before, but these days it’s common to use plastic eggs and fill them with candy. 

Most people who celebrate Easter also buy or create an Easter basket for their kids. The story is that the Easter Bunny comes at night and leaves you a basket full of treats. Typically the basket contains chocolates and other candies, and most people include some small presents as well. When I was small, I usually got a stuffed animal (usually a bunny) and some small things like Easter socks, or a small toy, various candies and a chocolate Easter bunny. When my son was small, I usually got him a book, a stuffed animal, and some snacks (chocolate, raisins, fruit – I didn’t want him to only have sweets!), and the eggs he hunted for often had Hot Wheels cars in them.


Q: イースターについて話して。イースターのお祝いで何をするの?

A: イースターは不思議な祝日なの。別の宗教から始まったものだけど、キリスト教の祝日に変換されたのね。だからその象徴となっているものはいろいろ混在しているわ。