This year Easter, which is a Christian holiday, occurred on Sunday, April 21. Each year, Easter falls on the Sunday after the first full moon in spring. Easter Day, for Christians, is the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb on the third day after he was put to death. The resurrection of Jesus is a way to renew hope that we have victory over sin. Easter is three days after the death of Jesus on the cross.
Easter is where many people do a period of fasting called Lent leading up to it, and many churches set aside time for repentance and remembrance. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, and ends on Good Friday, the day that Jesus was put to death. On the day before Good Friday, there is a day called Maundy Thursday, considering to be the last supper/Passover Jesus took. Easter is associated with the Jewish holiday Passover, the Last Supper was a Passover feast.
During Passover, Jesus took bread, which represented his body, and shared it with his 12 apostles. The cup of wine they drank represented his blood. In present time, Passover observed by breaking bread and drinking wine, or as an alternative grape/cranberry juice. Breaking bread is simply having bread, without yeast, and breaking it into pieces among the people. These rituals symbolize the sacrifice he was about to make in death, and this became the basis for the Christian ritual.
The week leading up to Jesus’ death is called Holy Week. This includes Palm Sunday, which is the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem and was celebrated, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday when Jesus would be put to death.
Easter Day is a time of celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. As time passed many secular ideas have been incorporated in this holiday. In present time Easter is celebrated as Jesus’ resurrection and/or to celebrate with the Easter bunny.
Another tradition is the Easter Bunny, that delivers candy and chocolate eggs to children on Easter Sunday morning. According to Country Living, the Easter bunny was a part of early pagan (non-religious) celebrations, and Christian missionaries had sometimes incorporated pagan ideas into their holidays. The two were combined to help promote their holidays to others. Historians believe it arrived in America with the German immigrants in the 1700s. The Easter bunny was at first the goddess of spring and dawn named Eastre, but was turned into a bunny by the Germans.
Eastre was celebrated because during spring, people celebrated the renewal of life and fertility. Eastre was associated with newborns and animals, and rabbits were known for reproducing rapidly, which created the concept of the Easter bunny.
The eggs came from when Eastre came late for spring once and saw a frozen bird. Eastre then turned that frozen bird into a white hare and made it lay colorful eggs once a year. The Easter eggs symbolizes fertility and birth in pagan traditions that pre-date Christianity, and also the resurrection of Jesus.
So, even though Easter is a Christian holiday today, it has connections to other beliefs as well.
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