From the earliest times, people in Ireland have marked the start of spring. They celebrated that the land had once again become fertile, birds began to lay eggs again and baby animals were born. When Christianity was introduced to Ireland, around the time St Patrick lived, many of these customs became connected with the resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion, which is commemorated on Good Friday. Hence, the pagan beliefs around the rebirth of nature joined with the idea of Jesus’ resurrection.
Being a young Irish person, two things spring to mind when I think of Easter; the panic inducing, alcohol free Good Friday and the ill – fated Easter Rising of 1916. Leaving Easter itself in the back seat.
However, for the 78.3% of the population that identify as Catholics, it often means a whole lot more.
I remember as a kid, my granny would have a conniption if you put your cup of tea down on the table on Easter Sunday, as the priest was on his way to bless the house. I also remember that she’d get her haircut on Good Friday and God forbid we didn’t go to mass at least once during the holiday.
I also remember going from relation to relation’s house, collecting way too many Easter eggs than anyone should finish in a lifetime.
As I grew up, and started receiving money rather than eggs, I realized that Easter wasn’t just for the kids and the elderly. I was exposed to the pre-Good Friday alcohol shop and the Fairyhouse Festival, one of the most prestigious horse racing events of the year.
While it’s not really celebrated in China, some of the established churches with buildings treat it like a mini Chinese New Year complete with red paper slogans called chūnlián (春联) on the church building and in the homes, special bands or music, and special decorations.
And of course, if you’re looking for your Easter chocolate fix, Baopals can sort you out..