One of the most important celebrations in the Christian calendar, Easter, is a holiday that celebrates the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. After his crucifixion, death, and burial, three days later, he arose from the grave. In doing so, he conquered death and redeemed us from sin if we believe in Him.
What is Easter?
Easter is the commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb on the third day after his crucifixion. Easter is the Messiah’s fulfilled prophecy who would be persecuted, die for our sins, and rise on the third day. Easter is one of the major holidays, or feasts, of Christianity.
Easter follows a period of fasting called Lent, in which many churches set aside time for repentance and remembrance.
What is the meaning of ‘Easter’?
According to dictionary.com, Easter is “an annual Christian festival in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, observed on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox, as calculated according to tables based in Western churches on the Gregorian calendar and Orthodox churches on the Julian calendar.
There is no trace of Easter celebration in the New Testament, though some would see an intimation of it in:
The Jewish Christians in the early church continued to celebrate the Passover, regarding Christ as the true paschal lamb, and this naturally passed over into a commemoration of the death and resurrection of our Lord or an Easter feast.”
When did Easter started?
The earliest recorded observance of an Easter celebration comes from the 2nd century, though the commemoration of Jesus’ Resurrection probably occurred earlier.
The earliest Christians celebrated the resurrection on the fourteenth of Nisan (March-April), the Jewish Passover’s date. Some of the Gentile Christians began celebrating Easter on the nearest Sunday to the Passover since Jesus arose on a Sunday.
Constantine wanted Christianity to be separated from Judaism and did not want Easter to be celebrated on the Jewish Passover. Accordingly, the Council of Nicea required the feast of the resurrection to be celebrated on a Sunday and never on the Jewish Passover.
Easter was to be the Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. Since the vernal equinox date changed from year to year, calculating the accurate date can be difficult. This is still the method used to determine Easter today, so some years we have Easter earlier than other years.
What is the difference between Easter and Passover?
Easter is a springtime Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and freedom from sin and death. It is preceded by a series of holidays commemorating Jesus’s path to the cross.
Passover is a springtime Jewish festival celebrating the early Israelites’ exodus from Egypt and freedom from slavery. Jews observe it by hosting a ritual dinner, called a seder, and then by abstaining from eating all leavened bread for about a week.
What is the origin of Easter Eggs?
Next to the Easter bunny, the most familiar symbol is the Easter egg. Like others, the egg has a long pre-Christian history. Again there’s no certainty as to why it became associated with Easter.
Many Ancient cultures viewed eggs as a symbol of life. Hindus, Egyptians, Persians, and Phoenicians believed the world begun with an enormous egg.
The Persians, Greeks, and Chinese gave gifts of eggs during spring festivals to celebrate new life all around them. Other sources say people ate dyed eggs at spring festivals in Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Rome.
In ancient Druid lore, the eggs of serpents were sacred and stood for life.
Early Christians looked at the connection eggs had to life and decided eggs could be a part of their celebration of Christ’s resurrection.
The origin of the Easter Cross
Before Christ came, the Cross was a well-known symbol used as a mark on buildings and sacred clothes. However, when Christ was crucified, the Cross became a symbol of suffering and a symbol of victory when He resurrected. In A.D. 325, Constantine at the Council of Nicaea issued a decree that the Cross is the official symbol of Christianity.
Sources: Christianity | Crosswalk | Britannica