Easter Celebration In The United States of America (USA)
Easter celebrations in America is no different from other Christian countries, only that there is more fanfare, celebrations, and some special activities like most nuptial bonds happen during this period.
Faithful Christian Americans visit the Church for the special prayers, followed by sumptuous lunches and dinners. However, you might be surprised to note that Easter is not an official public holiday, as prevalent in other Christian countries. Rather, only 12 of the 50 US states recognizes Good Friday as an official holiday. Some of them are Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky (half a day), Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas (in parts). Most of the school going kids doesn’t enjoy a full Easter vacation either, though they have a long summer vacation, coupled with a mandatory break in Spring. As for the working class, it is entirely on the employer of business houses to decide on whether their employees will get an Easter break.
This, however, doesn’t dampen the celebrations in any way. For you may check the following facts:
- The most popular church day is Easter, and not Christmas
- Easter is second only to Halloween, when it comes to consumption of candy
Some traditions exclusive to United States of America, for Easter celebrations:
Capitol Church holds a dawn service (sunrise service) at Washington Lincoln Memorial. Many other churches hold special services and vigils the night before, so that they call all greet the rising Easter sun, commemorating the resurrection.
Easter also officially marks the period of Lent to be over, resulting in family and friends get together, and sumptuous feasts. Find more about Easter feast here, and You can also check out some popular Easter recipes here.
It is a common practice to observe the period of Lent (which probably originated from an old English word, meaning Spring) of 40 day, culminating the night before the holiday. It is a period of fasting and confessing, to wash away the sins. The Friday, that falls just before the Easter Sunday is also observed as a day of penance, fasting and prayers, as it is believed that Jesus Christ was crucified on that day.
America is famous for conducting grand Easter parades, accompanied by men and women putting on show their best costumes, bonnets and fanfare. The festival, being an indicator of arrival of Spring, end of winter, and above all, resurrection of Jesus makes the carnivals, decorations (including egg decorations) parades and celebrations all the more worthwhile. Witnessing all this in person proves to be a great boon. No wonder America sees a lot of tourists in this period.
Here are some ideas about Easter customs and traditions in US:
In the New Orleans, it is a trend of conducting an annual Easter carnival called 'Mardi Gras', which features lot of fun activities like parade, jazz music bands and a bumper party. Click here to know more about Mardi Gras.
The Easter roll is the most popular game in this period for the kids.
Baked ham, along with vegetables and potatoes, form the most important and popular dish, closely followed by hot cross buns.
Egg dying and decoration is widely practiced, and the practice dates back to as early as 1700, probably passed on by Dutch settlements.
The sunrise motions are primarily held for joint participation of all the different Christian groups.
Organizing an Easter egg hunt game for their kids and their friends is the most popular activity for American parents in this period. This succeeds the egg decoration process. You can get complete Easter egg treasure hunt ideas here.
The Easter symbols and icons, like bunnies, eggs, lilies, the holy cross, palm, lamb etc are kept in decoration in every park, major road junctions and churches and homes. These were probably introduced by German settlers early in the 1700, which were gradually adapted. The book 'Egg Tree' by Katherine Milhous is widely credited for popularizing egg tree decoration practice in the USA.
As in European countries, it is not very uncommon to see pre-Lent carnivals happening across the country
Feasting forms an integral part of the celebrations. Along with Baked ham vegetables and potatoes, and hot cross buns, there are quite a few other Easter recipes as well, which you can find here. Homemade cuisines flourish at this time.
Easter parties are very very common, and people have parties almost every day. Merriment, feasting and drinking are the common activities. You can get some cool Easter party ideas here.
Americans consider Easter day to be very auspicious to tie the nuptial knot. Hence this day sees a lot of wedding.