Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.” S.D. Gordon (Rissel, 2015). Easter has always been a joyous season where the earth is reborn in a swell of new life awash with the vibrant colors of nature and renewed spiritual energy. Easter is originally a Christian holiday that celebrates the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Most major holidays have some connection to the changing of seasons. Spring is marked by the coming back to life of plants and trees that have been dormant for winter, as well as the birth of new life in the animal world. Given this symbolism of new life and rebirth, it was only natural to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus at this time of the year (Landau, 2017).
The holiday begins with Lent, a forty-day period marked by fasting, sacrifice and prayer, and ends with the holy week. The Holy Week includes Maundy Thursday which is the celebration of the last supper of Jesus with his disciples, Good Friday when Jesus was crucified, and Easter Sunday when Jesus rose from the dead (HISTORY, 2022). Easter typically falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the spring equinox. The spring equinox is a day where the amount of dark and the amount of daylight is exactly identical, so you can tell that you're emerging from winter because the daylight and the dark have come back into balance.
Easter gets its name from a pagan goddess, Eostre, from Anglo-Saxon England who was described by St. Bede the Venerable (Travers, 2017). Other historians maintain that Easter is derived from in albis, a Latin phrase that's plural for ‘alba’, or “dawn," that became eostarum in Old High German, a precursor to the English language of today (HISTORY, 2022).
Christians celebrate Easter because they believe that Jesus Christ was resurrected three days after his crucifixion on Good Friday. They celebrate the victory of life over death with the resurrection of Jesus. “We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him” (Romans 6:9) (Lifestyle, 2021). Easter represents a "historical" Christian festival, which the Bible also reports about in detail.
During the Middle Ages, people would decorate eggs and eat them as a treat following mass on Easter Sunday after fasting through Lent. The custom of decorating hard-boiled eggs or blown eggs is still a very popular folk custom. Rabbits and hares are also associated with fertility and were symbols linked to the goddess Eostre.
The Easter bunny is the Easter symbol for excellence. The egg has always been a symbol of fertility and rebirth in many cultures. Easter egg hunts and egg rolling are two popular egg-related traditions. Children look for hidden decorated eggs and when the hunt is over, prizes may be given for the largest number of eggs collected, for the largest or smallest egg, and for the most eggs of a specific colour.
Easter is a time of renewed faith and new beginnings. "Whoever knows Easter cannot despair," Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said in dark times (Lignoma, 2021).
ReferencesHISTORY. (2022, April 7). Easter 2022. Retrieved from HISTORY: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/history-of-easter
Landau, B. (2017, April 12). Why Easter is called Easter, and other little-known facts about the holiday. Retrieved from THE CONVERSATION: https://theconversation.com/why-easter-is-called-easter-and-other-little-known-facts-about-the-holiday-75025#:~:text=The%20naming%20of%20the%20celebration,seventh%20and%20early%20eighth%20century.
Lifestyle. (2021, April 3). Easter 2021: Date, history, importance and significance. Retrieved from The Indian Express: https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/life-style/date-history-importance-significance7255299/
Lignoma. (2021). Why do we celebrate Easter - the meaning and traditions of Easter simply explained. Retrieved from Lignoma: https://www.lignoma.com/en/magazine/why-do-we-celebrate-easter-the-meaning-and-traditions-of-easter/
Rissel, B. (2015, April 4). One Writers Way. Retrieved from Wordpress: https://bethtrissel.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/easter-spells-out-beauty-the-rare-beauty-of-new-life-s-d-gordon/
Travers, P. (2017, April 15). Origin of Easter: From pagan festivals and Christianity to bunnies and chocolate eggs. Retrieved from ABC: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-15/the-origins-of-easter-from-pagan-roots-to-chocolate-eggs/8440134
Sarah Hobson, Ph.D. specializes in supporting teams, departments and schools, businesses, and government agencies in building inclusive innovative change-making communities who understand how to connect well with and join diverse populations in providing needed sustainable resources for all youth and families.