You see chocolate eggs, bunnies, peeps shaped multicolored rabbits filling the shelves in the supermarket, and the first thing that you realize is-Oh! It’s Easter. And you are suddenly filled with excitement and start preparing for the day. Yes, it may not be as popular as Halloween or Christmas, but the traditions and treats of this day can still give a spirit of joy and celebration. One of the most interesting parts of this celebration is that people have different ways and beliefs regarding it. For some, it is a four-day long weekend and time for family vacation, while many observe it as a day to honor the resurrection of their Lord. Some also believe that a giant rabbit hides in the backyard with colored eggs.
Witnessing such diverse traditions, have you ever wondered about the religious origin of Easter and what is the actual importance of this Holy Week? If your answer is yes, then today we will answer all your queries regarding this day.Have a look:
Easter is a prominent Christian feast day. However, unlike other important days, there is no fixed date every year. It marks the day of resurrection of Jesus Christ and also celebrates the Lent ends. For those who don’t believe in Lent, it starts on Ash Wednesday where people have to give something up. It mostly includes a type of food like pizza or chocolate. Easter is determined by the lunar calendar (based on the phases of the moon). It falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox around March 20. Vernal Equinox comes when the sun crosses the celestial equator which is the imaginary line above the Earth’s equator in the sky. So according to Western Christianity, Easter will fall between March 22 and April 25 every year.
It is the period between the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Christians believe that Jesus rose again after three days which are known as Easter Triduum. It was initially called as ‘Pascha,’ a term derived from the Jewish Passover Festival. The word ‘Easter’ is taken from the Anglo-Saxon word for April, i.e., ‘Eostremonath.’ As we mentioned earlier, Easter season starts from Ash Wednesday which is the first day of Lent. It lasts 40 days excluding the six Sundays that fall between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. The holy week also includes Maundy Thursday, the day to mark the Last Supper which Jesus had with His 12 disciples.
Palm Sunday is marked as a day when the ‘Son of God’ came to Jerusalem in triumph. He was riding a donkey, and the crowd was paying homage to him. It is said to take place a week before his death and resurrection, and the day is still remembered through special Palm Sunday service each year. The people of Jerusalem laid down palm branches in Jesus’ path as he entered the city, and hence the name ‘Palm Sunday.’ It is recognized as a symbol of victory and peace, and during Biblical times, it was dedicated in the feet of a conquering hero to show respect.
Good Friday observes the death of Jesus. It may sound weird to call this day as ‘good,’ but it actually meant ‘holy’ at that time. This day people remember how Jesus was carried to the hillside and crucified by two criminals. There he was nailed to a cross and left to die. This is the reason that cross is seen as a symbol of Christian faith.
Have you ever heard of Eostre? If no, then here is the story. She was the spring and fertility goddess of the thirteenth century Germans. As spring arrived, people honored Eostre along with her companion which was a hare who laid an egg once a year. So, egg has been witnessed as a symbol of spring even before the birth of Christianity. It also represents reinvigoration after the harshness of winter, and rebirth. Mesopotamians, an ancient Christian community, had a tradition of staining eggs with red color to symbolize the blood of Christ. Then those eggs would be cracked against each other, and empty shells would be seen as an empty tomb that was left behind by Jesus. The tradition today involves egg rolling which signifies the rock is rolling away from Jesus’ tomb.
Of course, all the credit for Easter bunny goes to Germans as it was the companion of their goddess Eostre. It is believed that buck-toothed ‘Easter Hare’ brings chocolate for the kids who are well behaved. This thought was first mentioned in the year 1682 in German literature. Thereafter, this tradition was carried forward, and you can still see bunnies decorated on the shelves of various stores. Till today, children expect delivery of Easter egg on this occasion.
We hope that all your queries are answered through this blog.
You can incorporate these Easter facts and stories into your bank of knowledge and show it off during family dinners.
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