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Easter
Mardi Gras

Where was Easter first celebrated?

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March 11, 2009 2:16PM

Easter is a day that is honered by nearly all of contemporary Christianity and is used to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The holiday often involves a church service at sunrise, a feast which usually includes an "Easter Ham", decorated eggs, and bunnies.

Many ancient peoples worshipped the sun, and celebrated in spring when the long winter was over. Some of these traditions have been incorporated into modern celebrations of Easter.

One of the best examples is pysanky, the ancient Ukrainian art of egg decorating, which is believed to pre-date Christianity.

People have been celebrating spring for as long as weather got cold in the winter, and food supplies dwindled. Birds usually lay their eggs in the spring, so eggs were a natural symbol for spring, rebirth, and new life. Rabbits are very fertile animals whose babies scampered about in spring, so they also became symbols of spring. Many ancient cultures celebrated the coming of spring with religious ceremonies.

When early missionaries arrived in Ukraine, they discovered pagan peoples who worshipped the sun, and who viewed the egg as a symbol of the sun (the yolk) and springtime. These people decorated their eggs in fantastic and beautiful ways, so the missionaries simply incorporated this tradition into their own Easter festivities. You can learn more about the ancient art form of pysanky at the Wiki Answers section "Pysanky Egg Art" which is under Hobbies and Collectibles/Arts and Crafts (see link below).