Christians the globe over celebrated Easter to remember Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Easter Sunday immediately follows Good Friday, and many see the Saturday before Easter as holy, dubbed Holy Saturday. Easter is defined each year by the Church’s Lunar Calendar, and the Sunday after the Paschall Full Moon is designated Easter Sunday.
What Is Easter?
Easter commemorates Jesus’ resurrection from the tomb on the third day after his crucifixion. Easter is the fulfilment of the prophetic prophesy of the Messiah being persecuted, dying for our sins, and rising on the third day (Isaiah 53). Recalling Jesus’ resurrection everyday reaffirms our triumph over sin. Easter, according to the New Testament, occurs three days after Jesus’ death on the cross.
It occurs after Lent, a season of fasting during which many churches set aside time for repentance and recollection. Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and concludes on Good Friday, the crucifixion day of Jesus. Pope Gregory 1 created the 40-day period based on Israel, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus’ sojourn in the desert.
Holy Week, or “Passion Week,” is the week before Easter. It comprises Palm Sunday (the very day Jesus reached Jerusalem and also was commemorated), Maundy Thursday (the “Last Supper” during which Jesus met with his disciples to commemorate Passover), then Good Friday (when Jesus was going to be crucified on the cross).
It is a pivotal day in Christianity since it forms the basis of the Christian belief. Jesus, the Son of God, fulfilled the prediction and, by his sacrifice, bestowed upon all who believe in his death and resurrection the gift of everlasting life in heaven.
Easter’s History and First Celebration
The first Christians celebrated the resurrection on the fourteenth of Nisan (March-April in our calendar), the Jewish Passover date. Because Jewish days were counted from evening to evening, Jesus had His Last Supper on the evening of Passover and was killed on the next day. Easter originated when early Christians observe Passover and adored Jesus as the Paschal Lamb and Redeemer.
Some Gentile Christians started celebrating it on the closest Sunday to Passover, as Jesus awoke on a Sunday. This was particularly true in the western region of the Roman Empire. Various congregations in Rome celebrated it on different days!
Many thought that the date should remain based on the Resurrection’s timing during Passover. Once Jewish officials established the annual Passover date, Christian leaders could calculate the date of Easter by adding three days to the end of Passover. Following this timetable would have resulted in it falling on a different day of the week each year, with the exception of a Sunday.
Others felt that since the Lord rose on a Sunday and this day was designated as the Lord’s Day, this was the only day possible to commemorate His resurrection. As Christianity distanced itself from Judaism, some resisted basing Christian celebrations on the Jewish calendar.
Constantine desired a complete separation of Christianity from Judaism and did not want It to coincide with the Jewish Passover. As a result, the Council of Nicea mandated that the resurrection be celebrated on a Sunday and never on the Jewish Passover. It was originally scheduled on the Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox. Due to the fact that the date of the vernal equinox varied from year to year, determining the correct date may be challenging. This technique of determining Easter is still utilised today, which explains why some years we celebrate it sooner than others.
What Is the Meaning of Easter?
The origin of the term “Easter” is unknown. According to the Venerable Bede, an eighth-century monk, and scholar, the name may have derived from the Anglo-Saxon Eostre or Eastre — a Teutonic deity of spring and fertility. Recent researchers have been unable to locate any reference to the goddess named by Bede, and hence believe the hypothesis to be invalid.
Another suggestion is the Norse eostur, eastur, or ostara, which signified “the increasing sun’s season” or “the season of fresh life.” The term “east” is derived from the same origin. Easter would be associated with the change of the seasons in this situation.
A more modern and sophisticated interpretation derives from the Christian, rather than pagan, origins of Easter. The early Latin term for Easter week was hebdomada alba, or “white week,” while the Sunday after it was named Dominica in Albis, referring to the white garments worn by newly baptised Christians. Alba is a Latin word that means both white and dawn. Old High German speakers committed a translation error by using the plural form of dawn, ostarun, instead of the plural form of white. We derive the German Ostern and the English Easter from ostarun.
When Is Easter This Year?
Easter Sunday 2022 is April 17, 2022. Easter is marked on the Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox, the Pachschal full moon. Due to the fact that the date of the vernal equinox varied from year to year, determining the correct date may be challenging. This technique of determining Easter is still utilized today, which explains why some years we celebrate sooner than others.
Why Is Good Friday Celebrated?
Jesus endured great suffering in order for every one of us to become heirs of paradise. He acted as the bridge in the absence of a bridge. Good Friday is observed because we are all aware of the darkness that exists inside us. We are aware of our transgressions and the depths to which our actions and ideas might go. As we consider the things that have tainted our hands, we are aware that the actions we have done are deserving of punishment. This is especially true when we comprehend God’s holy standards.
Traditions and Rituals During Easter
There are several customs associated with Lent, Holy Week, and Easter Sunday. The Easter bunny, coloured eggs, gift baskets, and flowers are all universally recognised customs. We will go more into certain customs below, but here are a few other fascinating traditions from throughout the world:
- Bunnies are regarded as pests in Australia, wreaking havoc on farms and land. Australians commemorate the day with their indigenous marsupial, the Bibly, which has larger ears and a more pointed snout.
- On Easter Monday in Poland, youngsters attempt to drench bystanders with buckets of water. This tradition goes way back to 996 when Polich Prince Mieszko was baptized.
- The morning of Holy Saturday in Greece is renowned as the yearly “pot tossing,” during which inhabitants hurl pots out of windows. It is a ritual that signifies the arrival of spring and the harvesting of fresh crops in new containers.
- In Europe, enormous bonfires known as Easter Fires are ignited on Easter Sunday and continue until Monday. According to the Saxons, the flames will drive away winter and Easter would usher in spring.
The Easter Bunny’s Origins and History
What is the first thing that immediately comes to your mind when you hear about Easter? As a Christian, the first picture that comes to mind is either the crucifixion or an empty tomb. For the general population, it is more likely to come to mind as a result of a barrage of media pictures and items on shop shelves. So how did an egg-distributing rabbit become associated with Easter?
The rabbit, or hare, is connected with Easter for a variety of reasons, many of which stem from pagan festivities or beliefs. The most noticeable is the hare’s proclivity for reproduction. It occurs in the spring and commemorates the birth of a new life. Although the Christian concept of new life in Christ and a broader focus on new life are distinct, the two have increasingly intermingled. Any animal that had several offspring – such as the hare – was an obvious inclusion.
Easter Eggs: Their Origin and History
The Easter egg is the most well-known emblem, second only to the Easter bunny. The egg, like others, has a lengthy pre-Christian history. Again, it is unknown why it became connected with Easter.
Numerous ancient societies saw eggs as a symbol of life. According to Hindus, Egyptians, Persians, and Phoenicians, the universe began with a gigantic egg. During spring festivities, the Persians, Greeks, and Chinese exchanged presents of eggs in celebration of fresh life all around them. According to some reports, coloured eggs were consumed during spring festivities in Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Rome. In ancient Druid culture, snake eggs were considered holy and symbolized life.
Because rabbits often have a large litter of young (dubbed kittens), they became a symbol of fresh life. According to legend, the Easter Bunny lays, decorates, and conceals eggs as a sign of fresh life. This is why some youngsters may love participating in Easter egg hunts during the event.
Regarding the origins of the Easter Bunny in America, History.com states that it was oriented in the 1700s by German settlers in Pennsylvania, who carried their custom of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws” with them.
It is a remarkable occasion for Christians because it symbolizes the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and the revealing of God’s salvific purpose for all of humanity. Easter, in addition to honoring Jesus’ Resurrection, celebrates the triumph of life over death and the prospect of redemption.
According to some, the tradition began in the late sixteenth century, when Protestant reformer Martin Luther organized egg hunts for his church. Men would conceal the eggs for women and children to discover. This was a reference to the resurrection tale, in which women found the empty tomb.
Now that you know everything about Easter, it’s time to get ready to celebrate this festival with a lot of pomp and love! For more blogs about popular Indian festivals, keep reading Seema!