Easter Sunday Celebration

Easter Sunday Celebration

The story behind Easter lies in the New Testament of the Bible which narrates how Jesus was arrested by the Roman authorities because he claimed to be the Son of God, and later crucified. His resurrection three days later marks the occasion of Easter.
Happy Easter 2019: Significance, history, celebrations, Easter eggs in films(Unsplash)
Happy Easter 2022: Significance, history, celebrations, Easter eggs in films(Unsplash)

Easter is a Christian festival which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The holiday falls on April 17 this year and will be celebrated all across the globe. According to the New Testament of the Bible, Easter occurs three days after the crucifixion of Jesus by Romans. Easter concludes the “Passion of Christ”, which begins with a 40 days period of fasting – Lent and is concluded by the Holy Week. Holy Thursday (celebration of Jesus’s last supper) and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday is a part of the Holy Week which ends on Easter Sunday.

History

The story behind Easter lies in the New Testament of the Bible which narrates how Jesus was arrested by the Roman authorities because he claimed to be the “Son of God”. He was then sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate, the Roman emperor by crucifixion. His resurrection three days later marks the occasion of Easter. This day is also closely associated with the Jewish festival of Passover.

Celebrations

Easter is celebrated as a joyous occasion and the Sunday prior is called Palm Sunday which marks the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem. Various churches begin the celebration in the late hours of Saturday through a religious service called Easter Vigil. Non–religious celebrations include the tradition of Easter eggs, which represent fertility and birth and Easter bunny which delivers chocolates and sweets to kids on Sunday morning.

Easter Eggs

Chocolate-filled eggs or brightly painted eggs with sweets inside are common gifts exchanged on Easter. People choose to loosen their purse strings and splurge on the Easter weekend as the celebrations arrive after a 40-day lent period.

Some examples of non-religious Easter traditions include a treasure hunt like search for Easter eggs, and games such as egg rolling and egg decorating.

Did you know?

Hidden messages or pop-culture references in films, multimedia games and other media are also termed Easter Eggs? That’s because Easter eggs mimic the idea of the hunt for an Easter egg during the festival. These could be hidden messages, characters or images. It’s like a little secret that the software programmers or directors want to share, yet be discreet about them. It is a fun and engaging activity to look for these Easter eggs because it usually reveals more about the character or the plotline.

Easter Sunday 2022

Easter Sunday is one of the most festive events among Christians worldwide. It commemorates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from death, as written in the Christian bible.

Easter Sunday commemorates Jesus’ resurrection from death.

©iStockphoto.com/ Marcus Lindström

What Do People Do?

Many Christians worldwide celebrate Easter with special church services, music, candlelight, flowers and the ringing of church bells. Easter processions are held in some countries such as the Philippines and Spain. Many Christians view Easter as the greatest feast of the Church year. It is a day of joy and celebration to commemorate that Jesus Christ is risen, according to Christian belief.

Many towns and villages in Italy have sacred dramas about the episodes of the Easter story – these are held in the piazzas on Easter Day. Pastries called corona di nove are baked in the form of a crown. Other traditional foods include capretto (lamb) and agnello (kid/goat). Easter in Poland is celebrated with family meals that include ham, sausages, salads, babka (a Polish cake) and mazurka, or sweet cakes filled with nuts, fruit and honey.

Resurrection Sunday Images | Free Vectors, Stock Photos & PSD

Although Easter maintains great religious significance, many children in countries such as Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, think of it as a time to get new spring clothes, to decorate eggs and to participate in Easter egg hunts where eggs are hidden by the Easter Bunny. Some children receive Easter baskets full of candy, snacks, and presents around this time of the year.

Public Life

Easter Sunday falls on a Sunday, which is a non-working day in countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. Government offices and schools are closed in countries where Sunday is a non-working day, and business activities are limited.

In countries where Sunday is a non-working day, transport schedules may be limited or operate on a different schedule to that of the working week, so those intending on travelling via public transport may need to check their schedules ahead of time.

Background

Many Christians celebrate Easter Sunday as the day of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, which is written in the New Testament of the Christian bible. According to the Gospel of John in the New Testament, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb where Jesus was buried and found it empty. An angel told her that Jesus had risen. Christians worldwide have celebrated Easter for centuries.

However, the roots of the Easter holiday’s traditions and activities can be traced back to pagan celebrations. The name Easter is believed to come from Eostara, the goddess of rebirth. In early times the Feast of Eostara celebrated earth’s resurrection and rebirth. Strict Puritans would have nothing to do with Easter – it was merely a human institution – in the past. Charles I, king of England, declared the day as scriptural as Sunday in 1647 but Parliament contradicted him in print and abolished it with other church festivals.

The Easter date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox. In 325CE the Council of Nicaea decided that the Easter date would be the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the March equinox. Easter is therefore delayed one week if the full moon is on Sunday, which lessens the likelihood of it falling on the same day as the Jewish Passover. Eastern Orthodox churches in many countries such as Greece still figure their Easter date based on the Julian calendar.

Symbols

Easter eggs and the Easter Bunny are both fertility symbols, holdovers from the feast of Eostara. Other symbolic parallels include the pagan joy in the rising sun of spring, which coincides with Christians’ joy in the rising Son of God, and the lighting of candles in churches, which corresponds to the pagan bonfires. The symbol of the cross and images of Jesus Christ, through paintings or statues, are remembered on Easter Day.

Easter 2022

Easter is a Christian holiday that celebrates the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the New Testament of the Bible, the event is said to have occurred three days after Jesus was crucified by the Romans and died in roughly 30 A.D. The holiday concludes the “Passion of Christ,” a series of events and holidays that begins with Lent—a 40-day period of fasting, prayer and sacrifice—and ends with Holy Week, which includes Holy Thursday (the celebration of Jesus’ Last Supper with his 12 Apostles, also known as “Maundy Thursday”), Good Friday (on which Jesus’ crucifixion is observed) and Easter Sunday. Although a holiday of high religious significance in the Christian faith, many traditions associated with Easter date back to pre-Christian, pagan times.

WATCH: Jesus: His Life on HISTORY Vault

When Is Easter 2022?

Easter 2021 occurs on Sunday, April 17. However, Easter falls on a different date each year.

Easter Sunday and related celebrations, such as Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday, are considered “moveable feasts,” although, in western Christianity, which follows the Gregorian calendar, Easter always falls on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25. Easter typically falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the spring equinox.

In Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which adheres to the Julian calendar, Easter falls on a Sunday between April 4 and May 8 each year.

In some denominations of Protestant Christianity, Easter Sunday marks the beginning of Eastertide, or the Easter Season. Eastertide ends on the 50th day after Easter, which is known as Pentecost Sunday.

In Eastern Orthodox branches of Christianity, Easter Sunday serves as the start of the season of Pascha (Greek for “passover”), which ends 40 days later with the holiday known as the Feast of the Ascension.

Why Is Easter Called ‘Easter’?

St. Bede the Venerable, the 6 century author of Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (“Ecclesiastical History of the English People”), maintains that the English word “Easter” comes from Eostre, or Eostrae, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility. Other historians maintain the “Easter” derives from in albis, a Latin phrase that’s pural for alba, or “dawn,” that became eostarum in Old High German, a precursor to the English language of today.

Despite its significance as a Christian holy day, many of the traditions and symbols that play a key role in Easter observances actually have roots in pagan celebrations—particularly the pagan goddess Eostre—and in the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Religious Tradition of Easter

The resurrection of Jesus, as described in the New Testament of the Bible, is essentially the foundation upon which the Christian religions are built. Hence, Easter is a very significant date on the Christian calendar.

According to the New Testament, Jesus was arrested by the Roman authorities, essentially because he claimed to be the “Son of God,” although historians question this motive, with some saying that the Romans may have viewed him as a threat to the empire.

He was sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect in the province of Judea from 26 to 36 A.D. Jesus’ death by crucifixion, marked by the Christian holiday Good Friday (the Friday before Easter), and subsequent resurrection three days later is said, by the authors of the gospels, to prove that he was the living son of God.

In varying ways, all four of the gospels in the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) state that those who believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection are given “the gift of eternal life,” meaning that those of faith will be welcomed into the “Kingdom of Heaven” upon their earthly death.

READ MORE: Why Did Pontius Pilate Have Jesus Executed?

Passover and Easter

Notably, Easter is also associated with the Jewish holiday of Passover, as well as the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, as described in the Old Testament. These links are clearly seen in the Last Supper, which occurred the night before Jesus’ arrest and the sufferings Jesus endured following his arrest.

The Last Supper was essentially a Passover feast. However, the New Testament describes it as being given new significance by Jesus: He identified the matzah (or bread) he shared with his 12 apostles as his “body” and the cup of wine they drank as his “blood.”

These rituals would come to symbolize the sacrifice he was about to make in death, and became the basis for the Christian ritual of Holy Communion, which remains a fundamental part of Christian religious services.

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As Jesus’ arrest and execution were said to have occurred during the Jewish observance of Passover, the Easter holiday is often close to the former celebration on the Judeo-Christian calendar.

Easter Traditions

In western Christianity, including Roman Catholicism and Protestant denominations, the period prior to Easter holds special significance.

This period of fasting and penitence is called Lent. It begins on Ash Wednesday, and lasts for 40 days (not including Sundays).

The Sunday immediately prior to Easter is called Palm Sunday, and it commemorates Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem, when followers laid palm leaves across the road to greet him.

Many churches begin the Easter observance in the late hours of the day before (Holy Saturday) in a religious service called the Easter Vigil.

In Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Easter rituals start with the Great Lent, which begins on Clean Monday (40 days prior to Easter, not including Sundays). The last week of Great Lent is referred to as Palm Week, and it ends with Lazarus Saturday, the day before Palm Sunday.

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, which ends on Easter.

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