Each year, Catholics and some Christian denominations around the world commemorate the passion and death of Jesus Christ during Holy Week. Each country has its traditions for this week-long religious holiday. But, why do people celebrate Easter with colorful eggs, chocolates, and bunnies? If you're outsourcing to the Philippines, how do your Filipino staff celebrate Easter Sunday?
The Origins of Easter Eggs and Bunnies
Did you know? Every Easter in Sweden, children would dress up as Easter witches, their heads covered with colorful scarves and their cheeks painted with bright red dots. They would visit every house to present their drawings and paintings to their neighbors, hoping to receive candies in exchange. It looks like something your kids would normally be doing on Halloween, right?
In Sweden and other countries in Europe, like Norway, France and Hungary, Easter is considered a secular holiday. It usually falls on the first weekend of spring. Its name is a translation of an Old English word Easterdæg which means Easter Day. Historians and mythologists say it's a day named for a Germanic goddess of fertility and spring, Ostara, who's also known as Eostre in Old English. She might be a sister to Eastrgena of the Anglo-Saxons, and Austriahenea of the East Germans.
According to stories written about her, Ostara found a dying bird in late winter and turned him into a snow hare. To honor his earlier incarnation as a bird, the goddess gave the hare the ability to lay eggs of different colors. She was enraged when she found out that the bunny had been involved in numerous affairs. So, she threw his body to the skies where the bunny landed at the feet of the constellation of Orion (The Hunter). The bunny became the constellation of Lepus or The Hare.
Ostara later regretted what she did, and decreed that the hare would be allowed to visit the earth once a year. On that day, the hare would give away rainbow-colored eggs to children attending the festivals dedicated to this goddess of fertility and spring.
How Filipinos Celebrate Easter
Filipinos also throw a feast on Easter Sunday. Families would come together to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. At the same time, many Filipinos also celebrate Easter like in the United States. Children would play with fluffy bunnies and they would join Easter Egg Hunts for chocolates and other prizes.
Just like in countries where the dominant majority are Catholics, the Philippines also have processions. One particular procession is the Salubong (Tagalog) or Pagkilit-anay (Hiligaynon), which happens very early in the morning.
The pageant depicts the apocryphal reunion of Christ and his mother after the Resurrection. Statues of the Risen Christ and the Virgin Mary are borne in two separate processions that meet at a designated area called a Galilea, often in the square fronting the church. Some locales include statues of any or all the Three Marys (Mary, mother of James, Mary Magdalene, and Mary Salome), along with Peter and John the Evangelist. The two processions are customarily sex-segregated, with male worshippers following the Resurrected Christ, twelve men dressed as the Apostles, and icons of male saints, while female congregants accompany the icons of the Virgin and female saints.
The grieving Virgin will be covered in black cloth, and this will be removed once her statue and that of her son's meet. This removal signals the end of Mary's grieving. The unveiling is marked by the pealing of the church bells and fireworks.
Let Outsourcing Staff Celebrate Easter Sunday with Family and Friends
Easter Sunday is a time of great joy that is best celebrated with family and friends. It's a time of celebration and feasting. If you're outsourcing to the Philippines, giving your staff time off on a Sunday, just one day out of the year, means a lot to them. It can make a difference to the way outsourcing workers are treated in the industry. Hope you and your staff have a wonderful and exciting Easter Sunday!