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 hisdeath, burial and resurrection, Jesus paid the penaltyfor sin, thus purchasing for all who believe inhim, eternal life in Christ Jesus.
WESTERN CHRISTIANITYIn Western Christianity, Easter marks the endingof Lent, a 40-day period offasting, repentance, moderation and spiritualdiscipline in preparation for Easter. Lent beginson Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday.Eastern Orthodox churches observe Lent or GreatLent, during the 6 weeks or 40 days precedingPalm Sunday with fasting continuing during theHoly Week of Easter. Lent for Eastern Orthodoxchurches begins on Monday and Ash Wednesdayis 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 familiartraditions, symbols and celebrations of spring wereassociated with Easter - Christ coming back to lifeafter death. One of the oldest spring symbols in theworld is the egg. The oval shape of the egg was thesame shape for a raindrop and a seed. These twowere important 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 ancientChina, Rome and Greece, eggs were given asspringtime gifts. In Polland and Russia, hours arespent on drawing intricate designs on Easter eggs.
Easter Bells:- Are rung in France and Italythroughout the year but they are not rung onthe Thursday before good Friday. They aresilent as way to remember the death ofJesus. They are then rung on Easter Sundayas way of telling people Jesus is alive again.The Cross:- This is the symbol for theChristian religion as Jesus was nailed to across but then came back to life.The Easter Lily:- The lily was a reminder tothe Christians of how Jesus came back tolife. The white Easter Lily is used in manyEaster services. It is supposed to be asymbol of the purity of the Virgin Mary.
Easter Flowers:- Such as daffodil, narcissusand the tulip. Area symbol as they bloom inthe spring.Lambs:- The lamb is a symbol as peoplethought of Jesus as the Good Shepherd whowould watch over them as they were lambs.Lambs are born in spring. The Israelites alsoused lambs blood to save their firstborn inancient Egypt.Rabbits:- Rabbits are reminder of spring andnew life. They were the favorite animal ofthe 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 rememberJesus shedding His blood for humans.Fireworks:- These are believed to frightenaway evil spirits. They also show that outof darkness comes light.Chicks:- The chicks are born from eggsand are a reminder of spring and Easter.Candles:- Candles give light in darkness.Jesus is seen as "the eternal light"showing Christians the way from death tolife.Palm Branches:- These are used as asymbol of peace.