Ireland at Easter Time

Ireland at Easter Time

Easter in Ireland is celebrated in much the same way as in most western countries, with Easter Holidays, Easter Eggs and even a visit from the Easter Bunny to Ireland.

Easter takes its name from the pagan goddess of spring 'Eostre' and many of the traditional Easter icons were originally Anglo Saxon fertility symbols, before being transported to the United States. The Irish have welcomed these symbols and celebrate Easter with chocolate Easter Eggs and Easter Egg painting in similar fashion, while the streets are often decked with green and yellow.

Additionally in Ireland, the religious significance of Easter is widely celebrated and Catholic tradition is more strictly adhered to than in some other countries. Irish Easter tradition stems from the Christian view of Easter as the time of Christ's Resurrection. As with most predominantly Catholic countries this period begins with the 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday, known as Lent. This time begins with Ash Wednesday, when the faithful are anointed with ashes and during Lent people are required to give something up as an act of penance. The Sunday before Easter is Palm Sunday, when palm leaves are hung to mark Christ's entrance into Jerusalem and the Friday before is Good Friday.

On Good Friday, the day Christ died, you'll find everywhere is closed in Ireland. The day is a Bank Holiday, the banks, schools, businesses and even the pubs are all closed! People don't eat meat on Good Friday and traditionally people in Ireland would go barefoot on this day. Many ate nothing until midday, no wood was to be burned, no nails were driven and no animals were slaughtered on this day.

But come Easter Sunday, everyone is out celebrating, Christ is risen, Lent is over and the pubs are open! Many towns and villages hold processions of some sort, while out in the countryside, Easter Sunday is usually a high point of the social calendar with events such as fairs and horse races packing out the pubs. And as the following Monday is also a Bank Holiday, you don't have to worry about work in the morning.

In some circles in Ireland, Easter Sunday is a time when people remember the Easter Uprising of 1916, a hugely significant event in the shaping of recent Irish history, with processions and rallies held by Republicans.

 

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