What is Easter?
Easter is the most important feast or festival in the Christian calendar, according to the Gospels, Easter is celebrated on the third day of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion as the day that the Lord Jesus Christ resurrected.
The festival of Easter also marks the end of the 40 days of fasting called the Lent, which is marked by fasting, penance and prayer. Easter day is followed by a period called Easter tide that lasts for 50 days and ends on Pentecost Sunday.
When is Easter?
Easter Day does not have a fixed date when Easter is celebrated. As per the Gregorian calendar (western Christianity), Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon (Paschal Full Moon) and can fall between 4th of April and 8th of May.
History of Easter:-
Easter is celebrated to commemorate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and is celebrated on the Sunday following Good Friday, the day that Jesus Christ was crucified.
Easter celebrations according to The New Testament is attributed to the resurrection of Jesus Christ and is considered as the foundation of the Christian faith, which establishes Jesus as the Son of God. The resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Day, is a sign that God has given man living hope.
In the Old Testament, Easter has been linked to the Passover feast and the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. The New Testament says that Jesus Christ gave the Passover meal a new meaning by preparing himself and his desciples for this coming death and resurrection during the last supper.
The modern term “Easter” comes from the old English word “Eastre or Eostre” which referred to the month of Eostur monath as per the Germanic Calendar. This month was named after a pagen goddess named Eostre.
The week that proceeds Easter, is considered very important as per Christianity and is known as the Holy week. The week starts with Palm Sunday (Jesus’ entry in Jerusalem), and the last three days before Easter are Maundy Thursday (Last Supper), Good Friday (Crucifixion). In a few countries, Easter celebrations last for two days with the second day known as Easter Monday. The week that starts with Easter Sunday is called the Octave of Easter or Easter week. Many churches start celebrating Easter from the evening of Holy Saturday, this celebratory service is known as the Easter Vigil The day before Easter is properly called Holy Saturday. Many churches begin celebrating Easter late in the evening of Holy Saturday at a service called the Easter Vigil.
Many churches have various Easter celebrations that are a carried out on Easter Sunday. The churches are decorated with Easter banners, flowers like Easter lilies and Easter Decorations. You also have special Easter music that plays that is more of a celebratory music.
Easter is a public holiday in many countries where there is a large Christian population or where Christianity is the state religion. In countries like USA, Easter Sunday is a flag day but not observed as a federal holiday.
Easter Customs and Traditions:-
The customs and traditions of Easter vary from one country to another, however the most common traditions of Easter include decorating Easter eggs, some traditions like Easter bunnies and Easter egg hunts have a more secular hue to them. People give kids baskets of colored hard boiled eggs, chocolate Easter eggs or eggs made of marzipan. Another important tradition of Easter is that of food, special food is prepared on Easter to commemorate the end of the fasting period called Lent. People also take the opportunity of a long weekend to go camping or on vacation on Easter.