EASTEROn Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate theresurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. It is typicallythe most well-attended Sunday service of the yearfor Christian churches.Christians believe according to Scripture, that Jesuscame back to life, or was raised from the dead, threedays after his death on the cross. As part of theEaster season, the death of Jesus Christ bycrucifixion, is commemorated on Good Friday, alwaysthe Friday just before Easter. Through his death,burial and resurrection, Jesus paid the penalty forsin, thus purchasing for all who believe in him,eternal life in Christ Jesus.
WESTERN CHRISTIANITYIn Western Christianity, Easter marks the endingof Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, repentance,moderation and spiritual discipline in preparationfor Easter. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday andends on Easter Sunday. Eastern Orthodoxchurches observe Lent or Great Lent, during the 6weeks or 40 days preceding Palm Sunday withfasting continuing during the Holy Week of Easter.Lent for Eastern Orthodox churches begins onMonday and Ash Wednesday is not observed.
WHEN IT IS CELEBRATEDIn Western Christianity, Easter is always celebratedon the Sunday immediately following the PaschalFull Moon. I had previously, and somewhaterroneously stated, "Easter is always celebrated onthe Sunday immediately following the first full moonafter the vernal (spring) equinox." This statementwas true prior to 325 AD; however, over the courseof history (beginning in 325 AD with the Council ofNicea), the Western Church decided to establisheda more standardized system for determining thedate of Easter.
Symbols of EasterAs Christianity spread, more familiar traditions,symbols and celebrations of spring were associatedwith Easter - Christ coming back to life after death.One of the oldest spring symbols in the world is theegg. The oval shape of the egg was the same shapefor a raindrop and a seed. These two wereimportant life-giving elements. The egg itselfpromises new life as in spring, birds, and manyother animals are hatched from eggs. In fact, thePersians, Hindus and Egyptians believed that theworld began with a single egg. In ancient China,Rome and Greece, eggs were given as springtimegifts. In Polland and Russia, hours are spent ondrawing intricate designs on Easter eggs.
Easter Bells:- Are rung in France and Italy throughoutthe year but they are not rung on the Thursday beforegood Friday. They are silent as way to remember thedeath of Jesus. They are then rung on Easter Sundayas way of telling people Jesus is alive again. TheCross:- This is the symbol for the Christian religion asJesus was nailed to a cross but then came back tolife.The Easter Lily:- The lily was a reminder to theChristians of how Jesus came back to life. The whiteEaster Lily is used in many Easter services. It issupposed to be a symbol of the purity of the VirginMary.Easter Flowers:- Such as daffodil, narcissus and thetulip. Area symbol as they bloom in the spring.
Lambs:- The lamb is a symbol as peoplethought of Jesus as the Good Shepherdwho would watch over them as they werelambs. Lambs are born in spring. TheIsraelites also used lambs blood to savetheir firstborn in ancient Egypt.Rabbits:- Rabbits are reminder of springand new life. They were the favoriteanimal of the spring goddess Eastre.The Egg:- These are a symbol of spring aswell as Easter. They are a sign of new life.
Bread:- Unleavened flat bread is eaten toremember Jesuss sacrifice.Wine:- Red wine is drunk to remember Jesusshedding His blood for humans.Fireworks:- These are believed to frighten awayevil spirits. They also show that out of darknesscomes light.Chicks:- The chicks are born from eggs and are areminder of spring and Easter.Candles:- Candles give light in darkness. Jesus isseen as "the eternal light" showing Christians theway from death to life.Palm Branches:- These are used as a symbol ofpeace.Bread:- Unleavened flat bread is eaten toremember Jesuss