AMERICAN MOSAIC #814 - Easter Traditions

By Nancy Steinbach


Our VOA listener question this week comes from Germany. Michael Westphal asks about Easter customs in the United States.

Christians in the United States celebrated Easter last Sunday, April fifteenth. Easter is the day Christians believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead about two-thousand years ago. Most Christians believe Jesus was sent to Earth to save humans from wrongdoing, and to give them everlasting life.

Thousands of American churches held services outside on Easter morning.This tradition is very old. It probably was started by Moravian Christians in the eastern state of Pennsylvania in Seventeen-Forty-Three. This Moravian service of praise still is held today.

Sunrise services in the United States are usually planned to include members of many Christian religious groups. One of the most famous takes place at the Hollywood Bowl, an outdoor center in Los Angeles, California.People arrive the night before to try to gain attendance to this event.

Many Americans also observe Easter customs not directly linked to religious tradition. People in many cities walk through the streets on Easter morning after attending church. Each year, thousands of people in New York City wear new clothes to take part in this Easter parade on Fifth Avenue.

Some families color eggs and hide them for their children to find.Parents say a rabbit leaves the Easter eggs. The rabbit is known as the Easter Bunny. Here in Washington, a big celebration takes place each year the day after Easter. The President of the United States invites children to play a game rolling colored Easter eggs on the grounds around the White House.

President Rutherford Hayes and his wife, Lucy, started this American Easter tradition in Eighteen-Seventy-Eight. This year, rain forced officials to cancel the White House Easter Egg Roll. But the children who had planned to take part got a special tour of the White House, and received a wooden Easter egg instead.

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