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Easter is not just about bunnies and chocolate eggs. It's far more better than that. It is the oldest and probably, the most important Christian Festival. Some say it's more important than Christmas (I mean, isn't Easter the purpose of Christmas?). However, Easter sends a message of new life, new hope, new beginnings and that is the highlight of the celebration.
Biblical Reference: Matthew 28
1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Here are a few facts that we gathered from the net:
- The word "Easter" came from the word "Eostre". The Anglo-Saxon word for the month of April was "Eostre-monath" (the month of openings). However, even before the word "Easter" was used, the Christ's resurrection has been celebrated long before that. The word "Pascha" was used then, derived and linked to the Jewish Festival of Passover. Bede also notes that the month was named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess Esostre. Rituals related to the goddess Eostre focus on new beginnings, symbolized by the Easter egg, and fertility, which is symbolized by the hare (or Easter bunny).
- Easter and Passover always fall close to each other but they are not always at exactly the same time. For many centuries before Jesus' birth, the Jewish people had their own special spring festival, called Passover (Pesach).
Passover commemorates the time when God rescued the people of Israel from slavery and Moses led them out of Egypt. It is the Israelite's liberation from Egypt that led to the beginning of Judaism.
Jesus, a Jew, was crucified during Passover time and it is said that the Last Supper was a Passover seder (a ritual meal that commemorates the Biblical accounting of the Jews escape from Egyptian slavery). It is Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection that led to the start of Christianity.
Both Easter and Passover revolve around the idea of rebirth. Jesus is resurrected, or born again, and the slaves are reborn into freedom. Both festivals draw in the idea of birth or rebirth with Easter eggs and the hard-boiled eggs served on Passover.
- Easter is called a moveable feast because the date of Easter changes every year. Easter Sunday can fall on any date from 22 March to 25 April.
The reason for this variation in the date of Easter is based on the lunar calendar (moon) rather than our more well-known solar one.
Easter always falls on the first Sunday following the full Moon (the Paschal Full Moon) after March 21. If the Full Moon falls on a Sunday then Easter is the next Sunday.
- The Easter Season is not just one day. It begins today, Easter Sunday and lasts 50 days, ending on Pentecost.
- We give eggs during Easter because for Christians, Easter celebrates new life. Christians remember that Jesus, after dying on the cross, rose from the dead. They believe that, through his resurrection, Jesus defeated death and sin and offers people the promise of eternal life if they follow his teachings.
- The first eggs given at Easter were birds eggs. These eggs were painted in bright colors to give them further meaning as a gift. We still paint bird eggs today but usually only chicken eggs.
- An Anglo-Saxon legend tells how the Saxon goddess Eostre found a wounded bird and transformed it into a hare, so that it could survive the Winter. The hare found it could lay eggs, so it decorated these each Spring and left them as offering to the goddess.
Some Fun Facts about Easter (click on page 2)