Easter Celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
On the Easter Holiday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ who died on the cross for their sins. Christians have been celebrating this holiday since 33 AD which is believed to be the time Jesus Christ resurrected. The dates when this holiday is celebrated varies. It can be in March or in April depending on the equinox.
The Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) set the date of Easter as the Sunday following the paschal full moon, which is the full moon that falls on or after the vernal (spring) equinox.
We know that Easter must always occur on a Sunday, because Sunday was the day of Christ’s Resurrection. But why the paschal full moon? Because that was the date of Passover in the Jewish calendar, and the Last Supper (Holy Thursday) occurred on the Passover. Therefore, Easter was the Sunday after Passover.
The biblical account of Jesus’ death on the cross, or crucifixion, his burial and his resurrection, or raising from the dead, can be found in the following passages of Scripture: Matthew 27:27-28:8; Mark 15:16-16:19; Luke 23:26-24:35; and John 19:16-20:30.
To help celebrate the resurrection, there are a number of Easter Traditions which have been widely practiced across the world. Some of these common Easter traditions include:
It’s said the early church converts wore white garments on Sunday to identify themselves with Christ. The white symbolized purity and newness of life and became a powerful and tangible way to signify the life-altering spiritual transformation that had taken place. These new clothes were a reminder of their new life in Christ. The popularity of wearing an Easter bonnet is attributed to Irving Berlin’s song titled In Your Easter Bonnet from the 1948 movie Easter Parade.
The Easter Basket
The custom of having a large Easter supper represents the end of the Lenten fast. In more ancient times, this large feast was brought to the church in large baskets, hence the connection to treats in an Easter baskets today. This basket was blessed by the clergy much like the ancient Hebrews brought their first seedlings to the temple to be blessed. In Germany, the Easter hare would make a nest and fill it with eggs and goodies for all the good boys and girls. Giving and receiving Easter baskets is a reminder of God’s gifts.
The Easter Egg Hunt
This tradition is believed to have originated from the spring festivals of pagans while celebrating the fertility of their lands. Christians copied this tradition but intertwined it with some religious significance. During the Easter Egg Hunt, eggs are hidden all over the house or garden by the mythical Easter bunny. The eggs may contain candy or other prizes. In some other cases, hard boiled eggs may also be used. Children spend most of their time looking for the eggs so they can put them in their Easter Basket. Hard boiled eggs for Easter hunt are decorated with paint in most cases. The Easter bunny is a prominent symbol of Easter.
The Easter Parade
The Easter Parade tradition dates back to the early to mid-1800s. During this time, the upper class in the society used to attend Easter mass at Fifth avenue churches after which they would stroll outside while showing off some of the springs hats and outfits at large. The average citizens would show up along the Avenue to see what the upper class were doing. The Easter parade is widely practiced across most continents in the world.
Decoration of the Church
Most Churches are decorated with flowers during the Easter holiday. Flowers are used in church to symbolize the rebirth. Traditionally, some of the Easter flowers used include the Easter Lilies, Pussy Willows and daffodils. Easter Lilies are the most commonly used flowers because they are believed to have first grown in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus Christ was arrested before he was crucified. Red tulips are also used to symbolize the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross for our sins.
The Easter celebrations also vary from country to country. In Italy, reenactments of the story about Easter are held in Public squares. In Germany, Easter eggs are placed in a tree. This combination is termed as the Easter Egg Tree which looks like the Christmas tree.
Easter is a Christian Holiday full of meaning and traditions. As you color eggs for the hunt, or fill the basket, or don your finest attire and visit a Church service, you are helping to remember the true meaning of Easter – the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.