Easter Break in Belfast / by Eliza Parker

Time to take a break, visit some friends and of course, some intimate time.Those who know me are probably thinking that this is just another jaunt for travel bug, Eliza. But Easter is a special time of year.


It is derived from the name of the Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, Aostre. Her festival was celebrated after winter, signifying a time of rebirth and new life. In other parts around Europe, Easter is a variation on the word Pesach, from the Hebrew festival of Passover. This Jewish religious festival usually occurs around the same time as Easter. 

Lent is often ignored in public and observed only by Christians as a personal choice. When Lent meant a strict fast, it was a long season when eggs and meat were not eaten. Easter was celebrated by wearing colourful bonnets, and enjoying foods such as lamb and eggs which had been denied for six weeks. Since the fifteenth century hot cross buns were baked in England to be eaten on Good Friday. Queen Elizabeth I once tried to ban hot cross buns but the law proved too difficult to apply and this baking tradition continues today.

Today, chocolate eggs, Easter chicks, rabbits and lilies are popular. The rabbit was originally a pagan symbol of fertility. Eggs and chicks were significant in representing birth and new life in spring. The Easter lily represents purity, life and renewal. 

While I am not a history buff, how can one escape the past that lives on in such ornate cities as Belfast? My travels cause me to absorb history by osmosis.