Easter is a Christian festival celebrated to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. According to the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus is said to have been resurrected on the third day i.e. on Easter after his Crucifixion by the Romans in 30 A.D. It marks the completion of the “Lent” a 40-day period of prayer, fasting, sacrifice and repentance which ends with the Holy week or the “Passion of Jesus”, which includes the Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter.
When is Easter in 2020?
|Easter Day 2019||21 April 2019||Sunday|
|Easter Day 2020||12 April 2020||Sunday|
|Easter Day 2021||04 April 2021||Sunday|
|Easter Day 2022||17 April 2022||Sunday|
|Easter Day 2023||09 April 2023||Sunday|
|Easter Day 2024||31 March 2024||Sunday|
|Easter Day 2025||20 April 2025||Sunday|
However, the exact date of Easter has always been a great debate as Western Christianity follows the Georgian calendar and Eastern Orthodox Christianity follows the Julian Calendar. Therefore Easter falls on a different date every year.
Christians all over the world come together to celebrate this day by feasting, visiting churches and hunting Easter eggs.
Easter Day Religious Significance
The day and story of Easter are said to be the main foundation of the Christian Faith.
According to the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus was arrested by the Romans due to his claim of being “the son of God”. After which he was held by the authorities for 40 days which now marks the period of Lent. He was Crucified by the angry Romans on a Friday,(Good Friday) and three days later on Sunday (Easter), Jesus is believed to have resurrected from the tomb in which he was buried, which proved that he was truly “the Son of God”. (The story says that when people went to see his tomb the tomb was empty). This established the belief that those who have faith in Jesus Christ will be welcomed into the “Kingdom of Heaven” after their death.
Though Easter holds a high significance in the Christian faith, many of its traditions date back to the pre-Christian Era or the Pagan times.
Easter is also closely linked to the Jewish holiday of Passover wherein the Jews remember and Thank God for saving them from the slavery in Egypt(According to the Jewish beliefs). This is because of the close positions of both the Festivals in the calendar and also due to the resemblance in traditions, symbols, and celebrations.
Celebrations and Traditions of Easter
From the Easter eggs to the Easter bunnies, the time of Easter is a gala occasion for the Christians. Countries having Christianity as their “State Religion” and countries where the Christian population is in majority declare Easter as a Public Holiday. Also as Easter always falls on Sunday, some countries also extend their celebration to Monday to have Easter Monday, which is treated as a holiday.
The celebrations are an amalgamation of religious traditions and folk customs of that time.
People host lavish feasts which especially include lambs. This can be owed to the Biblical reference of lamb as a sacrificial animal.
People also paint and decorate eggs as a symbolic representation of the empty tomb where Jesus was buried, which are popularly known as the “Easter Eggs”. The eggs originally depicted birth and fertility in the ancient Pagan times. But later Christians adopted the practice of painting the eggs red to portray the bloodshed of Jesus Christ when he was crucified. The modern-day Eastern Eggs are either empty or filled with chocolates and are well decorated. This is also followed by games and activities like the Easter Egg hunt.
Another interesting tradition is of the arrival of the “Easter Bunny”, wherein a character named the Easter bunny delivers chocolates, candies, and Easter eggs to children. The Easter Bunny too finds its roots in the Pagan traditions and celebrations which viewed the arrival of baby rabbits during springtime as a celebration of new life.
The churches are beautifully decorated with flowers and candles. The festivities of feasting, wearing new clothes, visiting churches, singing, dancing, bonfires, Easter Eggs and Easter bunnies, various games and activities that are held all across the world by Christians are a vivid expression of the religious and cultural heritage of Christians.
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The festival of Easter is not just a delightful site to witness and a joyous atmosphere to experience but also a wonderful reminder of the victory of good over bad as depicted by the resurrection of Jesus. It brings us a fresh breeze of hope which manifests the beauty of new beginnings!