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Festivals of Western Europe

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Author Topic: Festivals of Western Europe  (Read 3227 times)
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« Reply #60 on: April 29, 2009, 03:23:59 pm »

On Holy Saturday housewives dressed in their most elaborate peasant costumes carry the Easter foods to church for consecration by the parish priest. It is customary for each woman to line a large basket with snowy linen and decorate it with gay ribbon streamers. She then fills the basket with a variety of Easter foods--the long braided loaf of holiday bread, the colored eggs, a portion of bacon or ham and, most important of all, butter molded into the form of a lamb--the Lamb of God--with a ribbon tied around the neck and a banner on a long stick inserted into the flank.

    After the food has been blessed housewives take their baskets home and start preparing the feast day dinner.

OSTERN (Easter)

    Eastertide customs, many of which originated in early Germanic pagan rites, are largely concerned with eggs, fire, and water.

    Eggs, the ancient heathen fertility symbol and the early Christian emblem of the Resurrection, inspire all kinds of games and customs for both children and adults. Modern children generally accept the idea that the Easter Hare brings their holiday eggs and hides them in many out-of-the-way nooks and corners. In the past the stork, the fox and the cuckoo, rather than the Hare, were credited with dispensing eggs.

    In many places, especially in Swabian villages, pretty little "rabbit gardens" are made ready for the Hare. In the Deister mountains near Hannover, he finds carefully prepared nests of moss awaiting his visit. Of course, the Hare prefers to hide his eggs in gardens and out-of-door nooks; but in stormy weather he manages, somehow, to find curious indoor places for boys and girls to search for his offerings. The Hare brings not only dyed hens' eggs of purple, green, and yellow; sometimes there are toothsome chocolate eggs with wonderful little pictures inside, which may be viewed through openings in one end. Sometimes the Easter visitor even leaves elaborate little pink or blue satin eggs, containing exciting presents of sweets, perfume or tiny lace trimmed handkerchiefs.

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