This webquest by Luke Vyner includes activities on the history of Easter, Easter symbols, celebrations around the world and little-known facts about the spring festival. It is free to all onestopenglish users.
What do you know about Easter and the history of Easter? Discuss your ideas with a partner.
Activity 1: The history of Easter
Read through the questions below and see if you know any of the answers. Then, visit www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-15/the-origins-of-easter-from-pagan-roots-to-chocolate-eggs/8440134 to find out if you were right. Compare your answers with your partner.
- What festival did Easter begin as?
- When does Easter fall, and what determines its date?
- What does the name ‘Easter’ come from?
- What still happens in many European countries on Easter Sunday?
- What animals were symbolically linked to the goddess Eostre?
- What were the first edible easter bunnies made from?
Activity 2: The Easter bunny and other Easter symbols
Go to www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/easter-ideas/g191/history-easter-traditions and scroll through the gallery. Read the texts and decide whether the following sentences are true (T) or false (F). If the sentences are false, correct them.
- The Easter bunny traditions came from the Bible.
- The Easter bunny symbolizes fertility and new life.
- It is derived from an old Danish tradition.
- Easter eggs are related to ancient traditions.
- For early Christians, Easter eggs represented the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- The Easter colours of the Christian church are yellow, red and green.
- Exchanging chocolate and sweets (candy) first became popular around 1950.
- Chocolate eggs have been eaten for two centuries.
- Jelly beans might have become popular at Easter because they are shaped like eggs.
Hot cross buns
- Hot cross buns are sweet, round breads filled with currants and spices with crosses on the top.
- English people believed buns baked on Easter Sunday were lucky.
- Hot cross buns are still seen as lucky today.
Activity 3: Easter around the world
a. You will be given either a country or a group of countries to research. Consider the questions below, and write a summary in your own words of what you have read.
- What unique traditions does the country have?
- What religious traditions do the people of the country practise?
- What do people wear?
- What do people eat?
- Are there any special days that are celebrated?
b. Share your findings with your classmates. What were the most interesting traditions? Which were the strangest?
Activity 4: Things you didn’t know about Easter!
a. How much more do you know about Easter? Complete the sentences below if you know the answers.
b. Visit the weblink: content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1889922_1890008_1889927,00.html, and read the ten sections of the article to complete the sentences. You will have to click on the arrow to move to the next section.
- ____________________________ appears in several ancient traditions as a symbol for ____________________________.
- The traditional pastries eaten on Good Friday in the UK are known as ____________________________.
- In Ethiopia, Easter is known as ____________________________ , and people fast from meat and dairy for ____________________________ before celebrating.
- In Sweden and areas of Finland, ____________________________ wear shawls and old skirts that are too big for them, and visit people’s houses to ask for ____________________________.
- Beginning in the mid-1800s, ____________________________ New Yorkers would parade their riches after leaving church.
- The first Sunrise Service in America was arranged by ____________________________. The purpose of the Mass is to remember ____________________________ that Mary found on Easter morning.
Compare your answers with your partner.
Activity 5: Optional fun task
Now that you know so much about Easter, you could organize your own Easter party. Here are some ideas for things you could do. Visit www.ehow.com/list_6465113_fun-easter-games-kids-adults.html.
Have a lovely Easter, but don’t eat too much chocolate!
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