Tag Archives: easter

4 Weird Things That Are Banned on Good Friday

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Happy Good Friday — or Black Friday, or Easter Friday, or regular old Friday, depending on your spiritual tradition. Good Friday is a holiday primarily celebrated by Christians to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the Friday prior to Easter. We do wonder how Jesus would have felt if someone had told him that the holiday marking his death would be called, “Good Friday.” Perhaps not the first title that would have come to his mind (kidding, kidding). 🙂

While in the United States Good Friday is not a government-recognized holiday, many countries around the world close down their offices and have laws that ban certain activities on the Friday prior to Easter. We’ve compiled a list of the most interesting things governments around the world believe you should not be doing to celebrate the day:

1. Laughing & Public Dancing

In Germany, comedic theatre performances and public dancing are illegal on Good Friday (although this restriction isn’t always well enforced). You can still watch comedy on TV or in movie theaters, but many TV channels will only show religious material on the day.

2. Drinking Alcohol

Ireland has a law prohibiting alcohol from being sold on Good Friday. In 1962, the Intoxicating Liquor Act introduced “area exemption orders” to allow the sale of alcohol for special events, but all pubs and many restaurants remain closed.

3. Horse racing

In the United Kingdom, horse racing is banned on Good Friday. Historically, gambling was banned altogether on the national holiday, but in 2008 a law was passed that allowed betting shops to remain open. That change elicited anger from many church officials who claimed the law  reflected a lack of respect for the day Christians remember Christ’s crucifixion.

4. Eating

If you’re an Eastern Orthodox Christian, you are not supposed to eat at all on Good Friday or the Saturday following. The Catholic Church also observes fasting and abstinence to commemorate their belief in Christ’s sacrifice.

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So that sums up what people around the world won’t be doing on Good Friday. What about you? Let us know how you plan to celebrate in the comments below.

 

Originally published in 2012

Eggs, Bunnies, and the World’s Biggest Phallus

As Spring thaws the Winter freeze and the days lengthen and warm, sprouts peak eagerly through earthen shell. Life quickens with a renewed instinct to create, reproduce, and grow. This is planting season, the blossom months, the verdant playground. Spring is the lover’s specialty.

What better way to celebrate new beginnings than with a fertility festival?

Episode three of The Chopra Well’s Holy Facts, hosted by Gotham Chopra, explores such festivals in different parts of the world. The show is witty and playful as always, and just a bit sexier than usual this time.

The March 15 Hounen Matsuri festival, a Japanese tradition dating back 1,500 years, celebrates fertility, renewal, and prosperity. It is sacred as an affirmation both of human reproduction and of the year’s bountiful harvests. The largest and best known of these festivals takes place in Komaki, a city of roughly 150,000 people. Despite the festival’s holy foundations, Hounen Matsuri has become famous (or infamous) for featuring a 2.5-meter, 600 pound wooden phallus, which participants enthusiastically parade through the streets.

Woody the Giant Phallus isn’t alone in this festival. Smaller statues, candies, and costume pieces also pay tribute to the reproductive member, and, to be honest, it looks like quite the party. A far cry from the tamer springtime barbecue of middle American suburbia…

Prior to the phallus festival, a neighboring city celebrates the companion vagina festival, Hime-no-miya. During this festival, parents dress up their children, who carry small vagina statues to a nearby shrine. Later, adult men haul a massive vagina through the streets, all the while praying for healthy children, a bountiful harvest, and a cold glass of sake at the end of the parade. Before you jump to accuse the country of penis/vagina fixation, keep in mind that Japan has one of the lowest birth rates in the world… Let’s cut them some slack.

And anyways, Japan is far from the only country in the world to practice fertility rites and celebrations. Such practices exist throughout the globe and throughout time. In fact, Easter, a beloved springtime ritual of Western cultures, may trace its lineage to the ancient European fertility festival, Ostara.

In the northern hemisphere, Ostara marks the Spring equinox and celebrates the goddess of springtime. It traces ancient Pagan roots and is now the highlight of many a neo-Pagan’s year.  But despite its magical beginnings, the holiday was actually fairly practical. Celebrations featured eggs, babies, and seed planting – all typical markers of fertility, life, and growth. And, as Gotham points out, the secular Easter is basically Ostara with new packaging.

Giant phalluses. Eggs. Bunnies. Have you ever been to a fertility festival? We bet you have. Tell us about it in the comments below!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and tune in every Wednesday for more Holy Facts – because the world is stranger than you can imagine.

“Get off the cross, honey. Somebody else needs the wood.”

Easter All The Year

Well, I waited so as not to upset the apple cart too much, but now I have to say my piece about Christianity. Understand that I am an ordained Christian minister—one cannot be ordained without affiliation to a denomination.

So now that we are through The Passion and The Resurrection and back into Ordinary Time, I believe that the Christian Church, from the Catholics down to the tiniest Protestant sect, has entirely missed the point of the story. Totally. Completely. Without exception. Answer me this, Batman:

Why does Christianity spend 51 weeks of the year on crucifixion and only one week of the year on resurrection?

Surely, the moral of the story is that we may all be resurrected whenever we decide to allow it.

What I think happened is that Christianity got stuck on the crucifixion. The advent of logical, positivistic science has been folded into crucifixion and, like any scientific experiment, must have replicable results in order to be legitimate. Hence, Christians crucify themselves and others again and again. Not surprisingly, crucifixion produces death—every time.

However, this mischaracterizes the Crucifixion. I refer you to Hebrews 10:10, to wit:

… through the offering of Jesus Christ once for all.

Blessed Christians, the Crucifixion was not a scientific experiment, it was a Work of Art, an Act of Love, and it was never meant to be replicated, never, ever, ever. No, Jesus offered himself once for all (italics mine). Just like the Sistine Chapel was painted once, and The Last Supper was painted once as was Picasso’s Guernica. Once. That one time.

To quote that great theologian, Dolly Parton, “Get off the cross, honey. Somebody else needs the wood.” May I paraphrase? Get off the cross, honey. The wood needs to be something else.

So let’s take a walk through Passion Week and use its iconography for real healing. The beginning of the story starts in the marketplace on Wednesday, any Wednesday really. Provisions were needed for The Last Supper. Provisions are needed for healing as well. Let’s say you want to heal fear in your life. What provisions might you need?

They’ll be symbolic, of course. Gather what you need for your ritual of healing fear. A candle? Flowers? Music? What will you prepare and serve as a last supper for your fearful self? Gather whatever you need.

On Thursday, prepare. Cook what needs cooking. Clean what needs cleaning. Figure out what you’ll wear to wash your own feet. Will you do your foot-washing in the tub? Do you have a large old basin? Set your table. Dress for release of fear. Dine. Wash. Begin to release your fear. Write. Sing. Dance. Break things. Throw pillows.

Who is the Judas part of you that betrays you into fear every time? Receive the Judas kiss. Let it identify you as the Divine Spark you are, destined to transform the world by transforming your very own self.

Friday is the Tenebrae Service. Your own personal crucifixion of fear. Let it rise in you and let it go. Father/Mother, forgive this fear for it knows not what it does. Rend the veil of your ego and at last commend the spirit of fear into the Divine. Tenebrae is darkest dark day of the Church calendar, and the darkest moment before the infusion of Divine Light.

Holy Saturday, during which Jesus rearranged every molecule of his consciousness in order to rise again. Do ye the same. Be still, poke into interior cupboards, closets, pockets … all places where old fear may be stored. Exhume the fear in all its distressing disguises. Wander. Go for a walk. Clean out a drawer. Read. Sit. Nap. Be still, and know that ye are God Incarnate. Sleep deeply after asking for a dream about who you will be when you fear no longer.

Easter Sunday. Before you rise from your bed, give thanks. Remember your dream if you can. This is the day of your resurrection as a fearless being. Stretch. Laugh. Pray. Do your ablutions as ritual. Be mindful of everything you do as a sacrament. Coffee. Breakfast. The paper. The puzzle.

Go slowly and revel in your Resurrection Self. You have vanquished the fear you felt. It is a new day. A new dawn. A new you. Live your resurrection life.

Remember, beloved, that you may have Easter and a Resurrection Experience any week of the year for any reason. Mindful ritual can make life transcendent … uh … trance end-ent. Happy Easter, happy you.

P. S. Did you notice the painting of “The Last Supper?” It’s not DaVinci’s. It’s called “The First Supper,” and it’s by Susan Dorothea White.

 

For spiritual nourishment, visit Dr. Susan Corso’s website and blog, Seeds for Sanctuary. Follow her on Twitter @PeaceCorso and Friend her on Facebook. And discover your own Inner Peace at, To Me Peace Is … What is Peace to You?

Easter and the Environment

 

 
Symbolically and literally Easter is an opportunity to advance our sustainable efforts. Easter symbolizes a time of renewal. From an environmental perspective this is precisely what is required to begin the serious work of mandating change and being better environmental stewards. To continue reading go to THE GREEN MARKET.

An Easter Reminder

April 3, 2010

Dear Friends,

As the saying goes, "You are not a human being having an occasional spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being having a temporary human experience."  And there is no better day in the year to affirm that for yourself than Easter Sunday.






For me, the Easter story is a dramatic demonstration and profound illustration of something that I believe is just as true for you now, as it was for Jesus over 2,000 years ago — that you are in this world, but you are not of this world.




Like I often mention, your true essence is spirit, not body.  And unlike the body, your spirit is eternal and indestructible. Your authentic self is, in a word, divine — an individual expression of that source energy we call God. And you are here for one purpose, and one purpose only: to express your divine nature in the body, and in the world.

And what, exactly, is that nature?  Love.  Unconditional love.  Divine love.

It’s the kind of love that knows no limits . . . the kind of love that forgives — no matter what.  It’s the kind of love that Jesus fully expressed throughout his life, right up to the final moments of his earthly existence.  And it’s the kind of love that you, and I, and all of us are called upon to express on a daily basis.

Today, and every day of the year, may you remember who you are, and why you are here.

May you remember that the journey of life is not about getting somewhere.  The journey of life is about being something.  It’s about being the love that you are in every single moment of that journey.  And it’s about experiencing the absolute joy that your love brings to the journey, and brings to each and every spirit that you encounter along the way.

Here’s to a joyful, fulfilling, and divinely-loving journey, my friends.

Happy Easter!

Steven

© 2010 by Steven Lane Taylor
Authof of Row, Row, Row Your Boat:
A Guide for Living Life in the Divine Flow

www.rowrowrow.com

What’s the Story?

We are in that phase of the lunar calendar when the Judeo-Christian world retells two of its most sacred stories: Moses leading the Hebrews out of bondage, and the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. This is a great opportunity to reflect not only on those specific tales, but also on how to derive the most benefit from religious lore and spiritual texts in general. 
 
The scriptures of every tradition can be seen as multilayered gifts whose value grows with each new level of meaning we can unveil. To some people, the ancient stories are primarily historical documents. To others they are teaching tools that convey moral lessons. Some use the stories to reinforce beliefs handed down by tradition, and to indoctrinate their children. But why restrict them to such conventional uses when we can mine these treasures for greater illumination and profound transformation?
 
One way to dig deeper into spiritual texts is to read metaphorically, not just literally. It has been argued that the stories that endure century after century, whether religious or secular, are those which resonate with archetypes embedded in the human psyche. We respond to the characters because they represent parts of ourselves, and we are moved by the plot developments because they reflect processes that unfold inwardly, in the landscape of the mind and spirit. 
 
When contemplating the Exodus story, for example, you might want to ask yourself questions such as: Is there a part of you that acts like Pharoah, keeping your soul enslaved? What miracles must the Moses in you perform to lead you out of bondage? How would you describe the land of milk and honey that you strive to reach? What psychospiritual wilderness must you traverse before you can reach the Promised Land? 
 
In considering the drama depicted on Easter weekend, you might ask yourself: In your personal Gethsemane, what forces are trying to pull you away from your highest destiny? How does the Judas within you betray your godly self? What is the inner Pontius Pilate that falsely passes sentence on you? What is the nature of the cross you bear? Which part of you must be crucified so your spirit can be resurrected? 
 
However you do it, you can extract deep personal meaning from spiritual literature by suspending your previous concepts and interpretations as much as possible. Read them or listen to them innocently, and follow them to their hidden depths. If you do, the sacred lore of any tradition can be a source of inspiration and personal growth. Use them well, and your own sacred narrative will move forward with greater coherence and happily surprising plot twists.
 
 

Happy Easter Bunny!

Hello, Friends!

Happy easter (bunny)! To me easter stands for the gifts we are given at this time of year, of the miracle of creation and rebirth. Abundance is a keyword for this time, I think and the rabbit is a symbol of abundance. My bunny, Spike, is just such a gift to me. I was given him in the beginning of spring. I sometimes refer to him as Springgift or just Bunny.

This is Spike acting hard-to-get. He does that a lot. Like all rabbits he is a timid and quiet creature with a tendency to jump at the slightest noise. Although rabbits may be silent they have a language of their own I was fascinated (and amused) to learn when I found this page: http://language.rabbitspeak.com/rabbittalk.html  It was like a whole new world opening up! Granted a very small world but a world nevertheless. It’s always worth taking a closer look at occurences in our world. Things are never what they seem to be!

And this is Spike taking a closer look at you with his ears in Curious Bunny-position. Whats going on out there? I don’t know Spike and that makes me very happy. Happy to witness the miracles of creation and to be in the Flow of Life.

Happy Easter to you and may you be a millionfold blessed!

Easter Sunday!- Morning has Broken…My Refinery Walks, My Sunflowers and a Butterfly

From Meady’s Musings

On this Easter Sunday morning many of us think about rebirth…a fitting song for this is one already featured on my blogs in the past…I particularly felt that way on New Year’s Day this year and so dedicated the song on the blogs then– Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens and other versions of it.

However you can feel that way on any day of the year of course. Last Diwali morning (08) I had this beautiful and marvelous dream that to me was the opening up of a very new beginning and birthing to me…of course Diwali is also the start of the Hindu financial year but again I think this can happen on any day…the dream was so beautiful but its contents and details I’d rather keep to myself in a way for now…although I believe I’ve discussed it on those famous dream blogs we had back on Intent a few months ago…aaahh so beautiful to recall that dream…

Of recently I’ve been taking many walks and perhaps I’ll share the details about my steppy thingy a.k.a my pedometer on this blog soon but very recently I took a walk in my company’s refinery. The refinery has parts that hold living quarters called bungalows from the times of the British, golf courses, artificial lakes that were created to collect water that can be used as cooling water in the refinery…and perhaps then the birds came…but would you believe it the refinery also has a Wild Fowl Trust that is housed on it’s grounds…of course all of this is a good way away from the actual refinery itself but to me our refinery is living testament to sustainable development.

I particularly like the number of Samaan trees that it preserves one of the most beautiful and blessed trees on the island and an ecosystem in itself. My family used to have one in our living area for many many years (>50 I think) until one relative who owned the portion of the land that it was on saw it fit to chop it down…it was wood to him…a living ecosystem to many others who lobbied for him to keep it standing…when that tree was chopped for months I saw it still like the ghost of a lost love it appeared on the skyline…I had grown so accustomed to seeing it there for the 20+ years of my lifetime back then…a true loss…and you know as a child I use to swing from that tree…I shall have to scan the pic of that and share one day…you must see that tree…such a sad story really…but some people see the world differently no doubt…

However I’m glad my current employer sees the need to keep those Samaans…even admist tanks and pipelines…and refinery cooling water! 🙂 So onto the resurrection as we speak of the trees that live! 🙂 Here are the pics I took on my refinery walks followed by my Sunflowers…my suraj mukhi and their surprise visitor whom I captured in digital form! 🙂

A grove of trees…

A pipeline and a tree…sustainable development maybe? 🙂

Into the Woods I go…

This is the path I took…

As I walked a lake I met…

There were some pelicans on the lake…

Then I walked some more till I stopped…

Then on my walk back I looked at that lake some more and…
Was that mangrove I did spy?…

And surrounding the lake were so many beautiful trees…

Then I looked across the lake and saw a bungalow…

As I walked back on the other side of the path I saw another lake and on the banks of it were trees littered not with white paper but with egrets! 🙂

Then I saw some egrets perched in a nearby tree…

Then I looked at those same egrets but more closely…

Then I walked on and took this pic to summarise what I was pondering on…
Here in a refinery so much nature and beauty this could only one thing be
Admist tanks and pipelines
Trees and vines
And so yet still sustainable development could be mines! 🙂

And a few evenings earlier when I came home from work to my surprise here were my
sunflowers…my suraj mukhi along with a definite and beautiful surprise!:)

PS: At the upcoming 5th Summit of the Americas next week the wives of all the delegates including Michelle Obama will be visiting our refinery to see the staff club and the Wildfowl Trust! 🙂