Easter – A Festival Of Hope, Enlightenment And Renewal
Published on March 24, 2020
Easter also called “Pascha” in the Greek and Latin language which means Passover or the fleeing of the Israelites (people of Israel) from Egypt, is a holy period for the Christians. It is a festival commemorating the Resurrection or “Rising from the Dead” of Lord Jesus Christ after his burial following his Crucifixion. It is the culmination of the Passion or sufferings of Jesus Christ, preceded by Lent, a 40-day period of Christ’s fasting, abstinence, and penitence in the wilderness.
Christians around the globe refer to the week before Easter as “Holy Week”, which includes days of the Easter Triduum, which are Maundy Thursday, marking the Maundy that is the ritual of washing one’s feet, done by Jesus for his apostles or followers before Good Friday, Good Friday and Last Supper (meal shared by Jesus before he was crucified) and then the Easter Vigil or night, a service held in traditional Christian churches as the first official celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Meaning & History
Easter, the principal festival of the Christian church, is celebrated to commemorate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his Crucifixion– an ancient form of execution in which a person was nailed or bound to a cross. Easter Sunday is the culmination of Holy Week and is the most important Christian festival celebrated with much vigor and joy. People burn candles during Mass, a ritual carried out to worship the Holy Eucharist and receive Holy Communion which includes Host (a portion of bread) and Wine as a part of this celebration. They pray for forgiveness and a life devoid of sins and bad deeds.
Easter is a very old word and has its origin from an old German word for East, which comes from an even older Latin word for Dawn. Some say the word Easter is derived from Eostre or Ostara, an ancient Goddess belonging to the German-English countryside. She symbolizes the rebirth of the day at dawn and the rebirth of life in the Spring. In Spring, dawns mark the beginning of days that outlast nights, and those dawns erupt in the East.
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Easter History Dates & 2021 dates
The dates for the Easter Day change each year, and several other Christian festivals fix their dates with reference to Easter. Easter falls on the first Sunday after the Full Moon date, based on mathematical calculations, that falls on or after March 21st. This is the date of the Paschal Full Moon. Paschal or “Passover” means the exodus or fleeing away of Israelites from Egypt. Thus, the Paschal Full Moon is used to determine the dates of Easter and is based on mathematical approximations following a 19-year cycle.
However, Eastern and Western churches continue to celebrate Easter according to different calendars, although the festivals do coincide at times. Unlike Christmas which falls on the 25th of December each year, Easter can be any time between March 22nd and April 25th. In 2021 it will occur on Sunday, April 12th with Good Friday on April 4th, 2021.
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Easter Symbols & Their Meaning
Not only does Easter celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ but it is also associated with popular symbols. Here is a list of the Easter symbols:
|Egg||Easter Eggs are associated with Jesus’ tombstone that covered the mouth of the cave where Jesus was buried. The hatching of the egg symbolizes new life that is Jesus’ Resurrection.|
|Bunny||Easter Bunnies are a pleasant symbol signifying the advent or arrival of Spring and newness.|
|Lilies||White Lilies specifically signify Purity and New Life.|
|The Lamb||The Holy Bible has termed Jesus as ‘The Lamb of God’|
|The Cross||Symbolizes Jesus’ Victory over Death.|
|Palm Branches||Palm is an important symbol that signifies Jesus’s arrival in a place called Jerusalem with crowds greeting and waving Palm leaves at him.|
|Easter Hats||Hats exhibit new life with a celebration after Jesus rose from his tomb or grave.|
|Easter & Spring Flowers||Blossoming of Tulips & Daffodils symbolizes Spring & New Life.|
|Hot-Cross Buns||Hot Cross Buns have a cross on the top which signifies the Holy Cross on which Jesus was hanged.|
|Candles||It stands for Jesus himself as He is the light of the World|
|Pretzels||A special edible item that is twisted in shape like a person’s hands in prayer|
|Baby Animals||Baby animals born in Spring represent New Life.|
|The Butterfly||Signifies the Life Cycle of Jesus Christ-events from Arrest, Prosecution, Crucifixion and Resurrection, from his life to death.|
Easter, a festival of hope and enlightenment, is a day of celebration for all the Christian communities around the world who mark it with great devotion, faith, and happiness. They pray for forgiveness for their past deeds and ask God to help them to lead better lives. They wish hopeful beginnings for all and meet each other with a feeling of warmth and brotherhood.
May This Easter Fill Your Lives with Great Warmth, Love and Enlightenment! Happy Easter!
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With Ganesha’s Grace,