Many people do not know that Easter and not Christmas is the biggest feast for Christians around the world. While Christmas marks the birth of Jesus Christ who Christians regard as the Son of God and the Savior of the world, Easter celebrates Christ’s resurrection from the dead after his crucifixion.
Easter culminates the Passion of Jesus which is preceded by the season of Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance that begins with Ash Wednesday. From Palm Sunday, the day that celebrates the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, Holy Week commences.
The death of Jesus according to Christianity sets everyone who believes in Jesus free from their sin and his resurrection on the third day ensures eternal life after death.
It includes the days of the Easter Triduum—Maundy Thursday which is also known as Holy Thursday that commemorates the Last Supper and the washing of the disciples feet by Jesus as well as Good Friday which commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus.
Easter is followed by a fifty-day period called Easter tide or the Easter Season which ends with Pentecost Sunday the feast celebrated as the birth of the Church which commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles.
Easter date and the Full Moon
The date of Easter varies between March 22 and April 25 as it occurs on the Sunday after the Spring Full Moon. The First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD established that the date of Easter should fall on the first Sunday after the full moon also called the Paschal Full Moon following the March equinox.
The equinox is reckoned to be on March 21 though it occurs, astronomically speaking, on March 20 in most years, and the Full Moon is not necessarily the astronomically correct date.
Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover that celebrates the freedom the Israelites received from the Egyptians after years of slavery. The two festivals have many symbolic similarities, as well as their position in the calendar is often in the same week.
Christians celebrate Easter by attending the Easter vigil service, decorating and distributing Easter eggs to family members and having a family lunch and dinner together on Easter Sunday. Additional customs like egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, and Easter parades are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians around the world.
Some Easter trivia:
Easter eggs are given to celebrate Easter or springtime. In Christianity, they symbolize the empty tomb of Jesus—though an egg appears to be like the stone of a tomb, a bird hatches from it with life likewise the Easter egg, for Christians, is a reminder that Jesus rose from the grave, and that those who believe will also experience eternal life.
The Easter Bunny or Easter Rabbit is a character depicted as a rabbit who brings Easter eggs. The Easter Bunny is often depicted with clothes.
In legend, the creature carries coloured eggs in his basket along with candy and toys to the homes of children. The Easter Bunny has a lot of similarities to Santa Claus, as they both bring children gifts on the night before.
The Easter Bunny was first mentioned in Georg Franck von Frankenau’s De ovis paschalibus (About Easter Eggs) in 1682 and referred to an Alsace tradition of an Easter Bunny bringing Easter Eggs.
The Easter parade is an American cultural event. It consists of a festive strolling procession on Easter Sunday. It is an informal and unorganized event without religious significance.
Participants traditionally dress in new and fashionable clothing like ladies’ hats, and strive to impress others with their finery. The Easter parade is closely associated with Fifth Avenue in New York City, but Easter parades are held in other cities as well.