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History Of Easter
Easter, the principal festival of the Christian church year, celebrates the Resurrection
of Jesus Christ on the third day after his Crucifixion. The origins of Easter date to the
beginnings of Christianity, and it is probably the oldest Christian observance after the
Sabbath (observed on Saturday). Later, the Sabbath subsequently came to be
regarded as the weekly celebration of the Resurrection.
Meanwhile, many of the cultural historians find, in the celebration of Easter, a
convergence of the three traditions - Pagan, Hebrew and Christian.
According to St. Bede, an English historian of the early 8th century, Easter owes its
origin to the old Teutonic mythology. It was derived from the name Eostre, the Anglo-
Saxon goddess of spring, to whom the month of April was dedicated. The festival of
Eostre was celebrated at the vernal equinox, when the day and night gets an equal
share of the day.
The English name "Easter" is much newer. When the early English Christians wanted
others to accept Christianity, they decided to use the name Easter for this holiday so
that it would match the name of the old spring celebration. This made it more
comfortable for other people to accept Christianity.
But it is pointed out by some that the Easter festival, as celebrated today, is related
with the Hebrew tradition, the Jewish Passover. This is being celebrated during
Nisan, the first month of the Hebrew lunar year. The Jewish Passover under Moses
commemorates Israel's deliverance from about 300 years of bondage in Egypt.
It was in during this Passover in 30 AD Christ was crucified under the order of the
Roman governor Pontius Pilate as the then Jewish high priests accused Jesus of
"blasphemy". The resurrection came three days later, on the Easter Sunday. The
early Christians, many of them being brought up in Jewish tradition regarded Easter
as a new feature of the Pascha (Passover). It was observed in memory of the advent
of the Messiah, as foretold by the prophets. And it is equanimous with the
proclamation of the resurrection. Thus the early Christian Passover turned out to be a
unitive celebration in memory of the passion-death-resurrection of Jesus. However,
by the 4th century, Good Friday came to be observed as a separate occasion. And
the Pascha Sunday had been devoted exclusively to the honor of the glorious
Throughout the Christendom the Sunday of Pascha had become a holiday to honor
Christ. At the same time many of the pagan spring rites came to be a part of its
celebration. May be it was the increasing number of new converts who could not
totally break free of the influence of pagan culture of their forefathers.
But despite all the influence there was an important shift in the spirit. No more
glorification of the physical return of the Sun God. Instead the emphasis was shifted
to the Sun of Righteousness who had won banishing the horrors of death for ever.
The Feast of Easter was well established by the second century. But there had been
dispute over the exact date of the Easter observance between the Eastern and
Western Churches. The East wanted to have it on a weekday because early
Christians observed Passover every year on the 14th of Nisan, the month based on
the lunar calendar. But, the West wanted that Easter should always be a Sunday
regardless of the date.
To solve this problem the emperor Constantine called the Council of Nicaea in 325.
The question of the date of Easter was one of its main concerns. The council decided
that Easter should fall on Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox.
But fixing up the date of the Equinox was still a problem. The Alexandrians, noted for
their rich knowledge in astronomical calculations were given the task. And March 21
was made out to be the perfect date for spring equinox.
The dating of Easter today follows the same. Accordingly, churches in the West
observe it on the first day of the full moon that occurs on or following the Spring
equinox on March 21., it became a movable feast between March 21 and April 25.
Still some churches in the East observe Easter according to the date of the Passover
The preparation takes off as early as on the Ash Wednesday from which the period
of penitence in the Lent begins. The Lent and the Holy week end on the Easter
Sunday, the day of resurrection.
Easter eggs & baby chicks- Eggs and chicks
symbolize new life. Eggs have been a symbol of
spring since ancient times. An egg also is a
symbol of the rock tomb out of which Christ
emerged when he arose again. The chick,
hatching out of the egg, symbolizes new life or re-
Easter bunny- The rabbit, or hare, was a symbol of
abundant new life in ancient times, and reminds us
of spring and new life.
Easter Lilies- The white blossoms symbolize the
purity of Jesus. Lilies, emerging from the earth in
the spring, also symbolize new life and the
resurrection of Christ. All About Easter Lilies.
The lamb - Represents Jesus, "the Lamb of God".
The cross - Symbolizes Jesus' victory over death.
Palm branches- Represents when Jesus arrived in
Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday and people
waved palm branches, welcoming him.
Stories for Children
Once upon a time there was a good old woman who lived in a little house. She had in
her garden a bed of beautiful striped tulips.
One night she was wakened by the sounds of sweet singing and of babies laughing.
She looked out at the window. The sounds seemed to come from the tulip bed, but
she could see nothing.
The next morning she walked among her flowers, but there were no signs of any one
having been there the night before.
On the following night she was again wakened by sweet singing and babies laughing.
She rose and stole softly through her garden. The moon was shining brightly on the
tulip bed, and the flowers were swaying to and fro. The old woman looked closely
and she saw, standing by each tulip, a little Fairy mother who was crooning and
rocking the flower like a cradle, while in each tulip-cup lay a little Fairy baby laughing
The good old woman stole quietly back to her house, and from that time on she
never picked a tulip, nor did she allow her neighbors to touch the flowers.
The tulips grew daily brighter in color and larger in size, and they gave out a delicious
perfume like that of roses. They began, too, to bloom all the year round. And every
night the little Fairy mothers caressed their babies and rocked them to sleep in the
The day came when the good old woman died, and the tulip-bed was torn up by folks
who did not know about the Fairies, and parsley was planted there instead of the
flowers. But the parsley withered, and so did all the other plants in the garden, and
from that time nothing would grow there.
But the good old woman's grave grew beautiful, for the Fairies sang above it, and
kept it green; while on the grave and all around it there sprang up tulips, daffodils,
and violets, and other lovely flowers of spring.
The Hare and the elephant
Once upon a time . . . in the Indian jungle, lived a young elephant whose playmate
was a very large hare. In spite of the difference in size, they were great friends and
had fun playing strange guessing games. One day, the hare said to his chum: "Which
of us is bigger: you or me?"
At that silly question, the little elephant nearly choked on his banana. "You must be
joking!" he exclaimed, "Why, even on tiptoe, you re not as high as my knee!"
But the hare went on: "That's what you think! Since I say that I'm bigger than you, we
need a judge. Don't you agree?"
"Oh, yes," said the elephant in surprise. "Well, let's go along to the village and see
what the Humans have to say. They're the cleverest of all the animals, and the best
As they reached the village, they met some of the villagers. "Look at that young
elephant! Isn't he small?" folk remarked as the unusual couple strolled by.
"Yes, he is indeed! But he'll soon grow up," said others.
Then somebody noticed the hare. "What a huge hare!" they all cried.
Now, the hare tried to keep in front of elephant and puffed out his chest. As he
passed, all the villagers exclaimed: "Look at his paws! And those ears! That's the
biggest hare we've ever seen!"
When he heard this, the hare turned to his friend, saying, "We can go home now!
That's settled! I'm huge and you're tiny!"
The elephant tossed his heavy head. At a loss for words, he knew the hare had won
by low cunning. But back on the jungle path, he lifted his foot and said to the hare,
walking ahead, "Get out of my way before a tiny elephant crushes a big hare like