The true meaning of………..Easter.

On Saturday 7th April between 12.30 and 1pm, the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral will witness a tradition that dates back to the 10th century. For one hour, 2,500 people will stroll into the inner sanctum of the cathederal and place their beautifully arranged basket of painted eggs on the alter steps. There, they will sit and await the priest who will bless and sprinkle the baskets with holy water.

These baskets traditionally contained meats, bread, cake, salt, horseradish and a symbolic little dough ram. Each of the baskets components had a symbolic meaning. The eggs and meat symbolise new life, fertility and haelth; the salt protects against bad spirits and helps you follow the right path, the bread symbolises the body of Christ and by this future posperity in terms of always having  food to feed yourself, the horseradish represents strength and physical health and the cake represents skills and talents needed for the coming year. Within minutes of the blessing the hive of activity around the cathederal and university car parks have all but gone. But not for those who have just witnessed the event. Last year I was just mesmorised by the whole thing and it left a lasting thought in my head…it was also a learning experience and made me research some of our cultural festivals that hark back to historic and pagan times which are enriching our lives today. I feel the event is short but memorable if you are caught up in it and I marvel at the hundreds of lavish, brightly coloured baskets and of course how anybody could find their basket at the end of the service. If you feel you want some tradition this Easter then feel free like I did last year to pay the Cathederal a visit tomorrow. Oh! The symbolic dough ram ? Well, it’s placed on the table on Easter Sunday to symbolise the resurrection of Christ.

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