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複活節:萬物複蘇的節日

(2008-03-20 20:35:12) 下一個
複活節:萬物複蘇的節日

廖康

複活節不僅是宗教慶典。據英國史學家兼神學家聖畢德 (Saint Bede, 673-735)考證,複活節其實起源於異教徒在春分之際舉行的一個世俗的,膜拜條頓民族的黎明女神艾歐絲特Eostre的節日。英語複活節一字Easter就是由此衍變而來的。漫長的冬季過去了,萬物從沉睡中醒來,就象喬叟在敘事長詩《坎特伯雷故事集》開篇時所描繪的那樣:

當四月的甘霖
潤濕幹旱的土地,
將勃勃生機注入
花莖、枝葉和根須,


此時人們歡慶,是最自然不過的事情,難道還需要其它什麽理由嗎?

後來,基督教的慶典采用了複活節這一名稱,並增加了“基督複活”的新意,將它變為一個宗教節日。然而,一千多年來,人們無法決定究竟應該在哪個星期天慶祝複活節。但大家基本同意,應該是春分第一次月圓後的那個星期天。而春分可能是三月二十一日,也可能是隨後二十八天的任何一天。於是,康斯坦丁的羅馬教廷於公元325年規定複活節星期天應該不早於三月二十二日,不晚於四月二十五日。直到1963年,梵蒂岡才宣布要定死複活節的日期;但東正教仍然分庭抗禮,單獨慶祝他們的複活節。

與此爭執相反,世界各國人們都一致用彩蛋來慶祝複活節。雞蛋裏的生命從靜止狀態破殼而出,活躍於世,雞蛋自然成為生命勃發的象征。無論什麽宗教,無論什麽文化,很多國家的人們都會在初春之時舉行歡慶。人們染彩蛋,或分發給孩子們,或把彩蛋從新綠的草坡上滾下,或把彩蛋藏起來,讓孩子們尋找,到處一片歡聲笑語……

如果世界總是這樣平靜,歡快,充滿生機,該多好啊!雞蛋的形狀讓我想到零0,想到Ground Zero(原爆麵),想到世貿大樓的廢墟。即使在這片樂土上也有死神的陰影。若想拋卻宗教差異,拋卻意識形態差異,普天同慶複活節,我們還有崎嶇漫長的道路要走。

2008年3月19日

譯自

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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