Welcome to the April newsletter. I would like to highlight some of the celebrations and current events taking place this month.
I hope you all enjoyed your four day weekend and more importantly Easter! Since its origins, Easter has been a time of celebration and feasting where many different traditional Easter games and customs have been developed. Exchanging and eating Easter eggs is popular in many countries. Here in the UK before they were replaced by hollow chocolate Easter eggs real chicken eggs were used. The eggs were hard-boiled and dyed in various colours and patterns. The traditionally bright colours represented spring and light. Now, children believe the Easter Bunny leaves chocolate eggs out in the morning or hides them in the garden for an Easter Egg hunt.
I’ve previously talked about Czech traditions but will now talk about some of the weird and wonderful celebrations in other countries. In the USA, egg tapping is known as egg knocking. Marksville, Louisiana claims to host the oldest egg-knocking competition in the US, dating back to the 1950s. Competitors pair up on the steps of the courthouse on Easter Sunday and knock the tips of two eggs together. If the shell of your egg cracks you have to forfeit it, a process that continues until just one egg remains.
In Bermuda, historically famous for growing and exporting the Easter lily, the most notable feature of the Easter celebration is the flying of kites to symbolize Christ’s ascent to the mighty heavens above. Traditional Bermuda kites are constructed by Bermudians of all ages as Easter approaches, and are normally only flown at Easter. In addition to hot cross buns and Easter eggs, fish cakes are traditionally eaten also.
In Jamaica, eating bun and cheese is a highly anticipated custom by Jamaican nationals all over the world. The Jamaica Easter Buns are spiced and have raisins, and baked in a loaf tin. The buns are sliced and eaten with a slice of cheese. It is a common practice for employers to make gifts of bun and cheese or a single loaf of bun to staff members. Easter egg traditions and the Easter Bunny activities are not widespread in Jamaica. Wherever you were and whatever you did I hope you had a lovely time.
Aside from Easter many other traditions take place in April. The Boat Race is an annual contest between two rowing crews from Oxford and Cambridge universities. The Race takes place close to Easter each year on the River Thames in West London between Putney and Mortlake. The first race took place in 1829 in Henley on Thames following a challenge between old school friends. Since the second race in 1836 the contest has taken place in London. Watched by thousands along the banks of the Thames in London, and by millions more on TV around the world, The BNY Mellon Boat Races are a unique sporting event. With four (two male and two female) very strong squads of athletes, expect to see great Races this year.
Saint George’s Day is the feast day of Saint George and the National Day for England, although it is not an official national holiday in England. It is celebrated by various Christian churches and by the several nations, kingdoms, countries, and cities of which Saint George is the patron saint. It is celebrated on 23 April, the traditionally accepted date of Saint George’s death in 303 AD. One of the best-known stories about Saint George is his fight with a dragon but it is highly unlikely that he ever fought an actual dragon. A traditional custom on St George’s day is to wear a red rose in one’s lapel, though this is no longer widely practised. Another custom is to fly or adorn the St George’s Cross flag, the flag of England. Pubs in particular can be seen on 23 April festooned with garlands of St George’s crosses. It is customary for the hymn “Jerusalem” to be sung in cathedrals, churches and chapels on St George’s Day, or on the Sunday closest to it. Traditional English foods and drink (e.g. afternoon tea) may be consumed.
The 35th Virgin Money London Marathon is due to take place on the 26 April, after last year’s classic in which Wilson Kipsang smashed the men’s record I hope it lives up to the hype. The race, which is 26.2 miles long, was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and athlete John Disley. Set over a largely flat course around the River Thames, the race begins at three separate points around Blackheath and finishes in The Mall alongside St. James’s Park.
An event I’ll certainly be attending is starting this month. The impact of 18th century art and design on the work of distinguished British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood is celebrated in a new exhibition at Danson House. Vivienne Westwood: Cut from the Past brings together for the first time a number of her ground-breaking designs, and explores the collections that proved to be her turning point both critically and commercially.
It’s a very exciting time in British politics with the election fast approaching on May 7th. I have no idea who is going to win but good luck to all the MP’s participating.
Thank you for reading and have a great April.