By Phoebe Pulido

The Easter Bunny decided to pay us a visit well in advance this year. Even before Lent, we have been savouring an array of delicacies from around the world in the office. New treats are brought in every other day, raising the innovation bar to newer and more dizzying heights and we have pounced on each opportunity with no hesitation. Birthday cakes, with two birthdays within a week, Vietnamese lollies, Hawaiian cookies (thank goodness for Diksha’s Hawaiian holiday) macadamia chocolates, and a very famous brand of `baked but not fried’ pizza biscuits all entrées to the grand finale.

Then started the deluge of Easter eggs, started off by one of our interns. She made sure that the box was big enough not only for our office mates but also for our visiting clients. And then there were more Easter eggs arriving every day! This set me off thinking of the significance of Easter eggs. With a few staff members fasting this lent, the significance of this period gained momentum.

Philippines celebrates the world’s longest Christmas and I was given the wonderful task of writing this article. Yes, my surname would have already rung a bell as to its country of origin!

Going back into the past ages, Europe had a role to play. It is thought that ‘Easter’ was named after the Goddess of rebirth, Eastre, whose symbol was the rabbit. This deity tied in with the ancient Saxon spring festival, which celebrated the renewal of life and fertility.

Over the course of history, Easter has become known as the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. It is the most significant event in the Christian calendar, the foundation of Christianity. Lent, forty days before Easter, marks the time of preparation and fasting before Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday. This is the time where people often ‘give up’ something as a symbol of sacrifice before Easter. On Easter Sunday, the climax of Holy Week, Jesus Christ rose from the dead and fulfilled God’s promise of eternal life. As the Son of God, Christ triumphed over sin and death giving salvation to all believers regardless of one’s cultural background. Easter gives a new hope and chance for renewal in the relationship with Jesus Christ the son of God.

In many countries, cultural traditions and customs are closely linked to prominent religious and cultural beliefs to Australia. For example, the Philippines, Italy and Brazil are predominately Christian countries and many migrants from these nations bring with them their religious beliefs and cultural practices which the communities continue to enjoy today.

Easter in Australia is a four-day public holiday from Good Friday to Easter Monday, and is usually celebrated within the school holiday period. Most retail outlets and shops are closed on Good Friday and it is the only day in Australia that newspapers aren’t available – an interesting consideration for advertisers who want to target audiences specifically during the Easter holidays. People attend church services, go on mini holidays and spend time with family and friends. Particular events also occur during this period such as the Sydney Royal Easter Show, Australia’s largest showcase of culture, heritage, agriculture and entertainment.

Whatever we will be doing these Easter holidays, let’s not forget the real meaning behind the day and the reason why this celebration brings forth much happiness whatever your cultural background or religious belief. I’m sure we’ll be on the hunt for more Easter eggs leading up to the holiday! Speaking of which, where are those CHOCOLATE MACADAMIA BUNNIES?

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