A crash course on Easter traditions

Story by Mayra Monroy, Editor-in-Chief
Photo courtesy of Israel Times


For some, Easter is associated with colorful eggs, the Easter Bunny, and baskets full of gifts and candy. Though traditions vary, a family get together will consist of similar activities such as searching for plastic eggs, dying them, and of course, a lovely picture with a big, fluffy bunny.

For Catholics, Easter is not only the time for gifts and bunnies, but to reflect of the Death, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Aquinas College, deeply rooted in the Dominican Traditions and Charisms, observes the holiday with masses for students, special food in Wege, and more.

What is “Fat Tuesday” and does it have something to do with food?

Fat Tuesday is celebrated on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. This year, it is observed on February 9. Fat Tuesday is also known as Mardi Gras, it’s French translation. There are celebrations across the world, with parties, food, and festivals.

The day gets its name from the idea of feasting before fasting, which begins for Catholics on Ash Wednesday.

What is Lent?

Lent begins 40 days before Easter in a tradition that allows for Catholics to fast before celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which this year will fall on February 10.

Ash Wednesday is the start of the Lenten Season, with special masses being held around the world. It is common to see people with ash crosses on their foreheads after attending mass.

Lent is a time to fast, to practice, and strengthen faith. For Lent, it is common for a person to give up some sort of common aspect of their life for the 40 days, such as a particular food, behavior, activity, etc. This varies from person to person, but it is something that is “given up” until Easter Sunday. It is depicted that once a person gives up a vice, their test of self denial and strength will bring them closer to their faith.

It is also common practice that no meat be eaten on Fridays during Lent. This includes pork, steak, beef, and anything made with those. For students at Aquinas, there are always alternate options in Wege Cafeteria during Lenten Season, such as fish, vegetarian options, and chicken.

Why 40 days?

Lent is described as lasting 40 days due to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, which described the length of time that Jesus Christ was fasting in the desert, having endured temptation from the Devil.

What is Good Friday?

Good Friday is the Friday that falls before Easter. It represents the first of the three days it took for Jesus to rise from his tomb. In this case, Good Friday will be March 25. It is followed by Holy Saturday, and of course, Easter Sunday.

About the Writer…

unnamedMayra Monroy is a senior studying Communication and Journalism. She is the Editor-in-Chief for The Saint, Writer for Revue Magazine and the Marketing Intern for Van Andel Arena & DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. Mayra enjoys traveling, being immersed in local and national news, and spends her day on Twitter.

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