By Himanshu Guru: Easter was celebrated on Sunday with great pomp and show across the world. This biggest Christian festival was observed with Easter feasts, games, egg-hunts and church services.
At the Vatican City in Rome Pope Benedict XVI pleaded people to take note of international demands to end the bloodshed in his ceremonial speech. Benedict celebrated Mass on this Christianity's most joyous holy day on the flower-adorned steps of St. Peter's Basilica, before a crowd of around one lakh people.
In Italy, families exchanged Easter eggs, which were made especially for the occasion containing special gifts that are placed inside the egg.
Easter is celebrated around the world with great fanfare and religious fervor. While observation of this religious festival is linked to Church, the basic outlines of Easter festivity vary in different countries, due to regional customs and traditions.
In Jerusalem, thousands crowded into one of Christianity's holiest churches to worship.
In Britain, Queen Elizabeth II attended a traditional Easter service with three generations of the royal family at Windsor Castle.
In the U.S., Moravians in Winston-Salem, N.C., gathered for the 240th annual sunrise in the city. It is one of the oldest and perhaps the largest Easter sunrise service in the nation.
In Finland people lit up huge bonfire on Easter Eve and kids went around begging on the streets with deprived faces and broomsticks. As the sun sets, families gathered around huge bonfires to fight off the evil spirit.
In France Easter eggs (chocolate nowadays) were distributed. In this country the festival marks the end of fast period, a period during which no eggs could be eaten, creating abundance thereafter.
In Poland, people celebrated Easter through playing outdoor games of their choice. It is an old Polish custom that the man of the house is not permitted to participate in the preparations of the festival because the women fear that their moustache might turn grey.
In Switzerland, instead of Easter bunnies, the Swiss delivered Easter cuckoos who deliver the Easter eggs during the festival. Easter eggs come in different colors and designs.
In Russia the design on the Easter egg symbolizes the part of Russia to which it belongs. On Easter day, the eggs are cracked open with the help of a nail as it represents the crucifixion of the Christ.
As per the New Testament Easter is basically a Christian feast and holiday to mark the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion. The festival is preceded by Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and sacrament. The last week of Lent is called Holy Week which contains the Easter day.
The festival is also known in the names such as Easter Day, Easter Sunday, Resurrection Day and Resurrection Sunday.
In the majority of countries, Easter bunny is the prominent Easter symbol, while in France, Easter fish and bells are the major Easter icons. In many Eastern European countries, Easter egg decoration is an integral part of Easter celebrations. Pre-Lent carnivals are held across the world, with Rio de Janeiro carnival being the most famous one.
Follow us on Twitter & Be our Fan on Facebook.