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Bunnies, Chocolate and Freedom

Historians believe the legend of the easter bunny originated in Germany; parents would tell their children that if they were good the easter bunny would leave them coloured eggs. The historical intermingling of pagan, Christian and Jewish beliefs and practices has left its legacy in many of the things we maybe take for granted about Easter and its traditions today.

For Jews and Christians, celebrations at this time of the year have much to do with freedom.

Around 3300 years ago, the Jewish people were enslaved in Egypt. They longed for the day when they would be free so they asked God for deliverance and eventually, that rescue came under the leadership of Moses.

This rescue is celebrated each year at Pesach, in English, Passover. Many of you will be very familiar with this family celebration.

Fast forward some 1300 years from that rescue, some friends were gathering in an upper room in Jerusalem to celebrate Pesach. It started off no differently than usual. But then, their leader Jesus, did something different, saying “’I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.’ And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.‘”

The next day, Jesus was executed by the Roman authorities and yet his followers began to describe that day as Good Friday, far from appropriate unless some good had come out of it.

For Christians the Easter weekend culminates in Jesus rising from the dead, breaking the power of death, and giving hope for the future.

So, it’s a busy holiday time of celebrations for Jews and Christians.

It’s an important time for Muslims too, as Ramadan takes place in April – not a time for feasting but for fasting, self reflection and charity.

Enjoy your holiday!

Reverend Antony Wilson
Foundation Chaplain