Easter 2017 – Happy Easter To You & Your Family

Eriks Draiska
Published on March 25, 2017

Easter 2017 – Happy Easter To You & Your Family

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Happy Easter to You for April 14 – 17

Competition Closed Tuesday 11th April * You Can Still Download & Print Just Page 1 & Colour-in for FUN!
Easter Fun Colouring In Competition for Children Aged 14 and Younger – DOWNLOAD Form Here.
Download, Print & Colour In by Hand.
 – Winner Has Been Drawn Wednesday 12th April
(You can print the Entry Form in Colour or Black & White by the way)

Winner Announced Here & www.Facebook.com/plazarealestate
Congratulations to Charlie D. of Hope Valley & THANK YOU to everyone who participated.
It was a tough pick of the dozens of entries. Look out for this next year.

‘Egg-cellent’ Easter Hamper Prize Valued at $75.00 has been WON!
You can try again next year… in the meantime, Have a Wonderful Easter.

The Meaning of Easter

Christians in Australia celebrate Easter Sunday as the day Jesus rose from the dead after he was crucified. Many Australians take advantage of the long-weekend for a short holiday.

Easter is the oldest of the Christian festivals. It is celebrated approximately at the end of the first quarter of the calendar year although its date changes depending on the lunar cycle.

Church Services

Easter is the most popular time of the year for Australians to go to church. The most common services are on Good Friday morning and Easter Sunday morning, and churches of every variety and denomination will generally focus their services on the simple presentation of the Gospel message. The largest Christian denominations in Australia include Catholic, Anglican, Uniting Church, Presbyterian and Baptist – and almost every town or suburb will have one if not multiple churches with Easter services for the local community to take part in. You can also find a church with Easter 2017 services by visiting Google.

Traditions

Easter Eggs and chocolate

In Australia, the most obvious sign of Easter’s approach is the huge market of Easter eggs.

Easter eggs are not only eggs, are not only chocolate, and are not always empty. Some of these treats are shaped like tall standing rabbits with long ears and wearing bow ties. Some are cute bunnies or chicks or ducks or cartoon characters and some are footballs. And a few are even made from confectionary or carob. Many contain further sweet treats or novelties.

In the invisible place where church and world overlap, many believe that the Easter egg relates to the shape of the stone that was rolled away from Jesus’ tomb on the first Easter Sunday. Others believe that the egg signifies new life that comes from the sacrifice of Jesus’ death, the miracle of his coming back to life (his resurrection) and the additional promise of eternal life for believers.

Beyond the spiritual significance of Easter, Easter eggs are a visual and scrumptious slice of the culture of the Easter weekend in Australia and, as around the world, are the subjects of many Easter egg hunts.

People have painted and carved birds’ eggs for thousands of years, perhaps for decoration and sometimes for religious reasons, even before Christ. Easter eggs have popped up along the Christian journey in different forms but formally entered the scene in the early seventeenth century.

I remember doing this with my parents and continued the tradition with my daughter.

The Easter Bilby

Traditionally, Easter eggs were supposedly delivered by the Easter rabbit or bunny. This is similar to the tradition in many European countries. However, as rabbits are seen as pests in Australia, they destroy crops and natural habitats. For these reasons, there has been a movement to suggest that Easter eggs are hidden by the Easter bilby. The bilby is a small, shy mammal with big ears, which is native to Australia and an endangered species. It is possible to buy Easter bilbies made from chocolate and some of the profits go to help preserve these animals.

Hot Cross Buns

Since Australia was originally a British colony, it shares many of the same religious and holiday customs. One such shared-custom is the eating of hot cross buns on Good Friday. Hot cross buns are generally a spiced bun made with dried fruit. These are then topped with an iced cross made of a flour and water mixture. Australians have put their own spin on the favourite pastry, now also offering the buns in a chocolate variety. The dried fruit has been replaced with chocolate chips and cocoa powder has been added to the spice mixture. Although typically consumed on Good Friday, you can find hot cross buns for sale in shops and street vendor’s carts all throughout the Easter holiday time and well before.

Palm Sunday

Easter Sunday is a very important day for Christians since the resurrection of Christ reflects a central idea in Christianity. Many Christians attend church services even if they do not attend services regularly during the rest of the year. For non-religious people and followers of other faiths, the four-day Easter weekend is a welcome break and a chance to enjoy a range of sporting and cultural events.

On Easter Sunday, many people receive or search for Easter eggs. These are egg-shaped and made from chocolate, candy or are decorated hens’ or plastic eggs.  They are often covered in brightly coloured foil or decorated with images of rabbits or chicks. Many communities groups and some families organize Easter egg hunts in parks or gardens. These are family events, usually aimed at young children.

The pre-cursor to celebrations of Easter in Australia, Palm Sunday represents the coming of Jesus Christ into the town of Jerusalem as recorded in the Christian scriptures. When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, it is said that the people of the city waved palm branches to signal his arrival. The traditional church denominations in Australia observe the symbolism by carrying massive palm tree branches in a large procession, while the general congregation carries small crosses made of palm leaves. After the ceremonies come to a close, the churches burn the palm branches and save the ash for symbolic ceremonies during Ash Wednesday.

The Season of Lent

The Easter 2017 lent season began on 1st March with Ash Wednesday and continues Until 15th April on Easter Saturday. In the Christian tradition, Lent is the season of around six weeks that leads up to Easter. It is a period of various forms of fasting or personal reflection that depends on the customs of the denomination and culture. Unlike Easter, in Australia’s culture, Lent is not generally recognised outside the churches.

For most, the fasting is simple and minimal to the extent that you may even find that the person you work beside is not eating chocolate or cake or meat as their partial sacrificial fast. Others go much further and partake of only a meagre subsistence diet.

Lent has been a part of church life since fairly early in Christian history, although not as early as Easter has been observed. It is not governed by any ordinance in the Christian writings that we know as the Bible. Instead it exists today due to tradition and by a religious passion. To honour the season leading up to the Easter weekend and what Christians see as the ‘sacrifice’ of Jesus.

The word ‘Lent’ came into use in medieval times. It was the word in the English vernacular that meant ‘spring’. Before then, Lent was referred to by the Latin word quadragesima with variations between languages. This word relates to the forty days that Jesus fasted after his baptism and the forty days (minus Sundays in some churches) of Lent.

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday falls 46 days before Easter Sunday and is the beginning day of Lent. For Easter 2017, Ash Wednesday was on March 1st. Celebrated by most Western Christian denominations, it rides on the concept that Jesus Christ spent 40 days fasting and praying in the desert, all the while overcoming Satan’s temptations. In ancient times, lying in ash and covering oneself with sackcloth was said to be a way to outwardly show an inner repentance. This process has been adapted for modern times by the churches into a simpler, more symbolic ritual. The ash collected from the burning of the palm branches from the Palm Sunday procession is used to place the mark of a cross on the congregant’s forehead. Some churches simply sprinkle the ash over the follower’s head during special ceremonies.

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday, celebrates The Last Supper and is the day before Good Friday. During Easter 2017, Maundy Thursday falls on April 13th. During The Last Supper, Jesus was said to have washed his disciples’ feet and consecrated the bread and wine at the table. It was on the eve of The Last Supper that he was betrayed by Judas Iscariot and was later arrested, which ultimately led to his crucifixion. Churches commemorate this event by holding a special service called a Eucharist that includes blessing oils, bread, and wine as well as foot washing and story-telling rites.

Good Friday

Good Friday is the beginning of the Australian Easter holiday long weekend and is the day when Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. For Easter 2017, Good Friday falls on April 14th.

According to the Christian scriptures, Jesus lived and died during the first four decades of the 1stCentury AD. The Bible, the key spiritual writings about the Christian faith, proclaims Jesus Christ to be God’s son who came to Earth to teach about God and to lead the way for people to find ‘salvation’ through Christ’s death and resurrection.

When Jesus was around 33 years old, the Bible recounts that he was falsely accused of being a heretic and a troublemaker. He was sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate and on the Friday of that weekend was killed by being nailed to a wooden cross. As the next day was the Jewish Sabbath, his body was removed at the end of Friday and placed in a tomb.

On the Sunday, now known as Easter Sunday, when friends visited the tomb to embalm his body, and despite the tomb being sealed by a rock and with armed Roman guards on duty, his body had gone. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ had risen from death as a part of God’s plan to vanquish the death of the spirit of man and the hold of sin over mankind.

History is vague about when Good Friday and Easter were first celebrated but there are some pointers that indicate that it was commemorated originally around the mid-2nd Century.

Today, Good Friday is commemorated in different ways throughout Christian society depending on denomination and culture. Generally, Good Friday is a day when a level of fasting is recognised. Some denominations take Communion (the sharing of bread and wine) and some do not. And some Christians do not celebrate Easter. They believe that some of the history of the celebration have pagan origins.

Good Friday is also taken as a holiday by those who don’t accept the Christian faith. To believers and those who are not, the long weekend is used as an opportunity to gather with friends and family and, often, to go away for a holiday before the cooler Australian weather arrives.

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday is the second day of the Easter weekend and is commemorated by Christians as the day Jesus Christ’s body lay in a borrowed tomb after his death the day before. Holy Saturday falls on April 15th for Easter 2017.

That first Holy Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath meaning that Jesus’ body could not be prepared for burial until Sunday, so his tomb was left sealed and guarded by Roman soldiers.

Holy Saturday is also known, amongst other names, as Black Saturday or Easter Eve. It is not to be confused with Easter Saturday, which is the first Saturday of the Easter Week seven days earlier.

In the Christian Church, there are no special celebrations on this day because it is a day of sombre remembrance before Easter Sunday, which celebrates the resurrection (rising from death) of Jesus. Many consider Holy Saturday as a day of quiet expectation.

In the wider community, the Saturday of Easter is almost a normal day. Most shops and businesses are closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, which means that the Saturday between is considered by many to be a designated shopping day.

Depending on the state and the dates of Easter, the weekend may also fall on school holidays making Holy Saturday a particularly busy day in shopping and holiday centres.

Easter Sunday

Meant to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from his tomb, Easter Sunday is a joyous event in the Christian calendar. It falls on April 16th for Easter 2017. Churches are filled with people more than at any other time of year except perhaps Christmas, with songs and hymns sung and usually a Gospel presentation by a pastor or minister. Children are given gifts of chocolate eggs and decorated egg hunts occur around most homes. A national holiday, almost all businesses are closed, depending on the regulations of the state or territory. In some locations, public transport operates on a restricted schedule, while in other areas there is no public transport running at all. Across Australia, the day is filled with both cultural and sporting events and most citizens spend their some of their Easter holiday either attending or watching one of these events on TV.

Easter Monday

Easter Monday is the last of the national public holidays relating to the Easter 2017 celebrations. Most businesses and all schools are closed and public transportation is either shut down or operating on restricted hours. While the holiday marks the finalisation of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, most Australians use it as a free day to attend events and family dinners.

Sporting & Other Events

Oakbank Easter Racing Carnival |  Saturday 15 and Monday 17 April 2017

The Oakbank Easter Racing Carnival is like no other in the world. Located in the picturesque Adelaide Hills, it attracts more than 60,000 people across the two days of racing on Easter Saturday and Easter Monday.

As a picnic race meeting, racegoers are able to bring their own food and drinks onto the course (at no cost) and enjoy a picnic by their car at various locations around the course

Easter Saturday is jam packed full of activities and events with the Fashion at The Races competition as well as the Melba’s Egg and Spoon Race and Melba’s Giant Easter Egg Hunt.

Other Events in South Australia – Click the Links

Weekend Notes
What’s On In Adelaide
Adelaide Kids 

Interstate

Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race. Beginning on Good Friday, the race contains anywhere from 40 to 100 boats and has been occurring annually since 1949. The course stretches from Shorncliff in Moreton Bay in Queensland to Gladstone Harbour and is organised by the Queensland Cruising Yacht Club.

The Australian Three Peaks Race is held in Tasmania every year during the Easter weekend. The course includes 335 nm of sailing, 131 km of running, and 2,646 m of climbing. It is a non-stop weekend event that begins at Launceston’s Beauty Point on the Tamar River and ends in the Tasmanian Capital City. Designed after the British Barmouth to Fort William Three Peaks Race, the Australian Three Peak Race was instituted in 1989 and has reoccurred annually since then.

Perhaps the oldest of the Easter sporting events, The Stawell Gift has been occurring yearly since 1878. Every Easter weekend, except for a short stint during the Second World War, the Stawell Gift has been the highlight of the Easter sporting proceedings. The most prestigious of all Australian footraces, it is run over 120 metres of grass track in front of the 100-year-old Grandstand in Stawell’s Central Park and implores a handicapping procedure that can often pit local runners against international specialists. The three-day meeting begins on the Saturday of Easter weekend and comes to a close on Easter Monday. Over 60 events take place during the weekend’s meeting, with the Stawell Gift being the feature. Gambling is allowed inside of the facility with an on-site bookmaker’s center.

While most Australian Easter traditions are similar to those of other Western Christian-based countries, Australians have adjusted Christian-based slightly to fit our own culture and season. While Easter remains the height of the Christian’s calendar in Easter, most Easter celebrations are more cultural and sports-focused than religious based. Churches are still flooded with worshippers during the most significant holiday of the year; however, Easter has recently become a cluster of prestigious social events and music festivals, too.

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