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复活节:万物复苏的节日

(2008-03-20 20:35:12) 下一个
复活节:万物复苏的节日

廖康

复活节不仅是宗教庆典。据英国史学家兼神学家圣毕德 (Saint Bede, 673-735)考证,复活节其实起源于异教徒在春分之际举行的一个世俗的,膜拜条顿民族的黎明女神艾欧丝特Eostre的节日。英语复活节一字Easter就是由此衍变而来的。漫长的冬季过去了,万物从沉睡中醒来,就象乔叟在叙事长诗《坎特伯雷故事集》开篇时所描绘的那样:

当四月的甘霖
润湿干旱的土地,
将勃勃生机注入
花茎、枝叶和根须,


此时人们欢庆,是最自然不过的事情,难道还需要其它什么理由吗?

后来,基督教的庆典采用了复活节这一名称,并增加了“基督复活”的新意,将它变为一个宗教节日。然而,一千多年来,人们无法决定究竟应该在哪个星期天庆祝复活节。但大家基本同意,应该是春分第一次月圆后的那个星期天。而春分可能是三月二十一日,也可能是随后二十八天的任何一天。于是,康斯坦丁的罗马教廷于公元325年规定复活节星期天应该不早于三月二十二日,不晚于四月二十五日。直到1963年,梵蒂冈才宣布要定死复活节的日期;但东正教仍然分庭抗礼,单独庆祝他们的复活节。

与此争执相反,世界各国人们都一致用彩蛋来庆祝复活节。鸡蛋里的生命从静止状态破壳而出,活跃于世,鸡蛋自然成为生命勃发的象征。无论什么宗教,无论什么文化,很多国家的人们都会在初春之时举行欢庆。人们染彩蛋,或分发给孩子们,或把彩蛋从新绿的草坡上滚下,或把彩蛋藏起来,让孩子们寻找,到处一片欢声笑语……

如果世界总是这样平静,欢快,充满生机,该多好啊!鸡蛋的形状让我想到零0,想到Ground Zero(原爆面),想到世贸大楼的废墟。即使在这片乐土上也有死神的阴影。若想抛却宗教差异,抛却意识形态差异,普天同庆复活节,我们还有崎岖漫长的道路要走。

2008年3月19日

译自

Easter: The Renewal of Life

Liao Kang

Easter is more than a religious celebration. Saint Bede (673-735), the English historian and theologian, discussed how the secular concept of Easter originated from a heathen festival held at the vernal equinox in honor of the Teutonic goddess of dawn, called Eostre, from which the Old English word eastre derived. It was only natural that people should celebrate when life was renewing itself after a hibernation or seeming death of winter; or as Geoffrey Chaucer versed so vividly, it was the time

Whan that April with his showres soote
The droughte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veine in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flower.


What more reason would they need for festivities?

The name Easter was then adopted for the Christian Paschal festival, which added a new meaning, Resurrection, to the celebration and turned it into a religious holiday. For centuries, however, people could not decide which Sunday should be the one for celebrating Easter. The only agreement that could be reached was that it should be the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on the day of the vernal equinox, which may be March 21 or any of the next 28 days. Therefore Easter Sunday should not be earlier than March 22 or later than April 25, as laid down by the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. It was not until 1963 that the Vatican Council declared itself in favor of fixing the date of Easter, but the Eastern Church still celebrates Easter independently. *

In contrast to this difference, Easter Eggs are common to people almost everywhere where they celebrate this holiday, for the egg is the symbol of life progressing from a quiet and motionless state to the momentous burst of birth. It symbolizes the renewal and continuation of life. Whatever the religion, whatever the culture, life is celebrated in most countries at this time of year. Eggs are colored, given to children, rolled down a slope of newly grown grass, hidden and searched out with cheers and laughter…

If only the world would always be so peaceful, cheerful, and full of life! The shape of the egg resembles 0, and that reminds me of Ground Zero. Death visited this paradise, too. There is still a long way to go before this holiday can be celebrated universally regardless of religion and ideology.

* See “Easter” in Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.
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