Here are a few questions that I always wanted to know during the Easter period.  If you want to be the smart one at the table while enjoying your ‘ingelegde vis’, have a look at these answers..

Why do we have Good Friday?
For Christians, Good Friday is a crucial day of the year because it celebrates what we believe to be the most momentous weekend in the history of the world. Ever since Jesus died and was raised, Christians have proclaimed the cross and resurrection of Jesus to be the decisive turning point for all creation.

On Good Friday we remember the day Jesus willingly suffered and died by crucifixion as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. It is followed by Easter, the glorious celebration of the day Jesus was raised from the dead, heralding his victory over sin and death and pointing ahead to a future resurrection for all who are united to him by faith.

Why do we eat fish on Good Friday?
Pickled fish (‘ingelegde vis’ in Afrikaans) has deep historical roots and eating it on Good Friday is a cherished and revered tradition in the Cape that dates back centuries. It’s a simple dish that tells a unique story of social customs and çooking practices that have been passed down through generations. A thread in the modern-day South African food tapestry.

Good Friday is when Christians spend the day in worship until 3 pm (the time at which Jesus is presumed to have died) and then sit down to enjoy pickled fish with hot cross buns.

Even though the dish has strong Christian associations, you’ll find that many Muslims also make pickled fish at this time of year and like a lot of South African recipes – there are countless variations on the theme.

Some say the recipe was originally created by Cape Malay fishermen in an effort to preserve the catch for as long as possible (bear in mind there was no such thing as refrigeration back then). And many believe that one shouldn’t do any cooking on Good Friday and no stove should be turned on, which meant you would make the fish on the Wednesday before the Easter weekend and there would be enough to last until Monday.

Why do we eat hot cross buns?
The eating of hot cross buns marks the end of Lent because they are made with dairy products which are forbidden during this period. Plain buns are traditionally eaten hot or toasted during Lent, beginning on Shrove Tuesday and through to Good Friday.

Different parts of the hot cross bun have a certain meaning. The cross represents the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices inside signify the spices used to embalm him at his burial.

Why do we eat Easter eggs?
The giving of eggs – representing new life, and  Christian tradition has adopted the practice with an empty egg coming to represent Jesus’ empty tomb after the resurrection.

Why are Easter Eggs chocolate?
In the 18th century, people began to get more creative with their egg-giving. Fake eggs made of papier-maché, with small gifts hidden inside, could be purchased around this time; by the 19th century cardboard eggs covered with silk, lace or velvet and tied with ribbon were fashionable.

The first chocolate eggs appeared in France and Germany in the 19th Century. These were made of dark chocolate and were usually bitter-tasting; because there was no process at this time for moulding chocolate, they were also solid and hard.

What do rabbits/bunnies got to do with Easter?
The story of the Easter Bunny is thought to have become common in the 19th Century.  Rabbits usually give birth to a big litter of babies (called kittens), so they became a symbol of new life.

Legend has it that the Easter bunny lays, decorates and hides eggs as they are also a symbol of new life.
This is why some children might enjoy Easter egg hunts as part of the festival.

So why do we have Family Day, the day after Easter?
It is common in South Africa to take a day off of work after Easter. This day, which is also known as Easter Monday, was renamed as Family Day in 1995. This extra day off for the holiday was meant to give families more quality family time together and to allow them to go on vacations with friends and family

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