A Spot of Easter Violence, Anyone?

Easter customs of old were many and varied but who would have expected so many of them to be nothing short of violent? Some believe Easter is named after the pagan spring festival celebrating Ēostre or Ostara; historically known as the spring equinox, this might explain why the date of Easter is calculated by the cycles of the moon. It falls on the Sunday following the full moon after the first day of spring — nothing Christian about that calculation! One would have thought the dates of Christ’s death and resurrection would have been more definitely commemorated but, no, we stick to celebrating the coming of spring. Compared to this oddity, some of the bizarre customs associated with Easter stop seeming so bizarre. The violence involved in some of them, though, is a little harder to explain…

Good Friday Customs: The Peculiar Washing of Molly Grime

David Castleton explores a curious local tradition in Glentham, Lincolnshire, which seems to merge folkloric traditions with Christian rituals.

British Legends: The Lust of Uther Pendragon, Merlin’s Prophecy and the Making of a King

The legendary Uther Pendragon was the father of Arthur Pendragon who was destined to become the greatest King of the Britons. Arthur would drive out the invading Saxons, bring peace to the country and build an empire in Europe.

Easter Folklore: Spring Festivals and Forecasts

With the renewal of the natural world in spring comes the celebration of Easter, when many ancient traditions are still kept alive today.

A Forest of Folklore: The Easter Egg Tree

Eggs—long symbols of fertility, rebirth, and love—inundate just-budded trees throughout eastern Pennsylvania each spring. While most states celebrate Easter with rabbit figurines, church festivals, and large baskets filled with chocolate gifts, “Easter egg trees” sprout up in American regions