New to Canada? A Guide for Celebrating Easter

celebrating easter

April 13, 2017

Easter is the most important Christian religious holiday and takes place on the first Sunday after the first full moon in spring, which falls on April 17 this year. Easter is also a time when Christians and non-Christians alike celebrate the return of spring with Easter egg hunts, gifts of chocolate, and spending time together. And it’s a four-day weekend for many: Good Friday is a federal statutory holiday across Canada and all government and most businesses are closed; and Easter Monday is a federal statutory holiday as well, but provincial rules vary so that it’s often an optional holiday for businesses, and many schools are closed.

So, what better time is there than during Canada’s 150 to celebrate an extra-long weekend with family and friends, learning about this important cultural and religious event, hunting for eggs and enjoying chocolate? None that we can think of!

Here are some of the main reasons to celebrate and enjoy Easter this year:

The food – For one month leading up to Easter, many Christians abstain from eating meat or other delicacies as part of Lenten observances. What this means is that Easter lunch or dinner often rivals Christmas among Christians for the sheer diversity of food. For many European cultures, lamb is a vital part of the Easter celebration, while in other parts of the world, like the Philippines, roast pork, or ‘lechon’, is a big favourite. Whatever the star of the meal, however, you can be sure that there will be lots of other dishes on offer to celebrate the end of Lent and the beginning of a new religious calendar year on Easter Sunday – so tuck in!

The eggs – The traditional figure of the Easter Bunny has existed for centuries, bringing and hiding coloured eggs for children to find and enjoy. This tradition still exists and in many homes and communities in Canada parents continue to colour and hide eggs so that children can enjoy looking for and collecting as many as they can find. It can be just as much fun for the parents to come up with new and inventive hiding places each year as it is for the kids to search them out! You can look online for different ways to decorate eggs or buy egg decorating kits – and even get the kids involved in designing their own eggs to use for the hunt!

The chocolate – If you’ve looked around grocery stores over the last few weeks leading up to Easter, you may have noticed piles of chocolate bunnies, chickens or other chocolate creations filling up the aisles. The traditional symbol of the Easter Bunny often appears in chocolate form, adding another delightful way for children – and adults – to enjoy this spring holiday. So, if you’re invited to an Easter meal or decide to host one yourself this year, giving chocolate bunnies or eggs to guests is a sure-fire way to make it a memorable one for everyone.

To find out about other cultural traditions that reflect Canada’s 150, and to share your Easter celebration stories and photos, visit us on Facebook and Twitter!

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