Have you ever wondered why Easter Monday is a public holiday? The logical explanation is that people deserve an extra day after Easter celebrations to recover from hangover and from exhaustion after a hectic long weekend. However, Easter Monday has its own significance as a few traditions are associated with this day. Before I jump into the traditions, I would like to focus on some interesting names with which people refer to this day.
This particular Monday has many names in different parts of the world owing to very different reasons. Students who were forced to return to schools on the Monday after the Easter Sunday, in some parts of the world, regard Easter Monday as Black Monday. Others regard this Monday as Bright Monday or Renewal Monday as it is the beginning of a bright week with Sunday being the day Jesus resurrects from the dead after his crucifixion. It is also known as Wet Monday because of the tradition of siblings or spouses waking each other by pouring buckets of water on each other. On this day, the polish people in Poland and America celebrate the polka festival which is known as the Dyngus Day in large gatherings. In the UK, the Monday following Easter Sunday is declared a bank holiday following the tradition of medieval England’s Hocktide when men strictly did no work.
Australians use this public holiday to socialize with friends and family either by visiting them at their homes or by enjoying outdoor sports such as the Oakbank Easter Racing Carnival, Three Peaks Race and Stawell Gift. The tradition of celebrating Dyngus Day is popular in Poland and polish diaspora, especially in America, and has a very interesting backstory. It originated from the baptism of Meizsko in 966 AD on Easter Monday making Poland a christian country. The story goes to the Slavic pre-Christian Paganism period when Dyngus the pagan god representing water and moist earth was baptised and became a christian.
The tradition of participating in festivals like bottle kicking match and the Hocktide is still popular in the UK. The bottle kicking match requires three bottles and a hare pie, the bottles being barrels, two of which are filled with beer and one is made of solid wood. The competition takes place between two villages, Hallaton and Medbourne, and the participants are required to roll the barrels across the stream for a mile and the winning village gets the barrels filled with beer, which they take to the local pub for celebration. The hilarious Hocktide festival requires the men to tie up the women and free them only after they receive a demanded kiss from them. In certain parts of England, this festival is celebrated with minor variations such as the men having to carry their women to a certain distance before they get their kiss from their partners or the men having to lift their women a number of times before they get their kiss from the latter.
In America, the White House tradition of Egg rolling attracts a significant number of participants each year. This egg race or egg rolling tradition, also popular in many other countries, is held annually on Easter Monday by the President of America and the First Lady of America on the South Lawn of the White House for children who are thirteen years of age and younger. Parents purchase the tickets for White House via the White House Historical association and the participating children are required to roll the eggs down the hill by themselves.
The four days’ Easter celebrations with the varied traditions, symbols, observances and fun-filled activities make the occasion an enriching experience for Christians all over the world. Hope you had a wonderful Easter!