What is Easter? – History, dates and celebration

According to Bible, the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection is of great value for Christians. Thence, with great zeal and enthusiasm, a large number of countries acknowledge Easter, though with varied names. The beauty of Easter is, it does not have any fixed date. This year, this awaited festival falls on Sunday, 16 April, 2017.

Three days after Jesus’s burial after Romans crucified him, Mary Magdalene, who went to his tomb early in the morning, found it empty. His missing body and an attestation from the angel about his resurrection, testified the Messiah’s prophecy.  In the following days after that, his followers had observed a minimum number of twelve appearances of Jesus, all of these which were palpable.

“I am the resurrection and the Life. He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

– John 11:25-26

Jesus Christ’s resurrection laid the foundation of the Christian credos. This incident, proving Jesus’s claim to be the Son of God or the Messiah has demonstrated the profound power of the Almighty.

Dilemma over the Etymology

Dilemma over the Etymology

Since centuries, with many prevalent hypothesis, it has been a hard time finding the exact origin of the word – Easter.

The widely accepted theory is the thesis proposed by an eighth century monk and historian- Venerable Bede. As per his mention, the term was derived from a pagan figure called Eastre (or Eostre), a goddess of spring whose symbol was a hare. The speculation states that during the spring equinox, a festival called Eastre was celebrated to worship her. The only problem believing this conjecture is its lone reference as Eosturmononath in the writings of Bede; no other evidences were found in any literature or historic writings.

Calculating this Celebrated Holiday

Bible states that Jesus’s death and resurrection happened during the Jewish Passover, which was celebrated on the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Contrary to it, the Gregorian and Julian calendars are based on the sun and seasons, making Easter a floating feast.

The First Council of Nicaea established two rules for the celebration of Easter – independence of Jewish calendar and worldwide uniformity. As per the Gregorian calendar, every year from 1753-2400, Easter falls on a Sunday in between 22 March and 25 April. On the other hand, in the Julian calendar, this joyful day falls on a Sunday between 22 March and 25 April, which according to the Gregorian calendar is from 3 April to 10 May.

Presence of Easter Bunnies

It’s a belief that rabbit’s capability of giving birth to a large litter of babies (kittens) would have symbolized it for a new life. The lack of presence of hare in the Bible validates its irrelevance with the Christian’s meaning of a fresh life through Christ.  As Easter celebrates new life, the modern observance of this day spectates a merger between these two life related doctrines.

Another thesis for their blending is their close resemblance to the moon. In ancient times, hare represented the moon whereas the occurrence of this festive day depends upon the moon.

Existence of Easter Eggs

Easter Egg designs

Since ancient times, eggs had been an ideogram for life among many cultures. Like the Easter Bunny, there is no mention of Easter Eggs in the holy book; but its connection with life made them a part of the Christ’s resurrection celebration.

Some people believe that when an egg cracks open, they stand for the empty tomb. Also, in the honor of Christ’s blood the eggs were painted red. In addition to it, England’ egg rolling contests found its way to America, perhaps in the memory of the tomb’s stone being rolled away. Despite remotely relating some of the today’s celebrations with the cause, the reference for the egg hunt tradition is obscure. According to a source, this custom was adopted from the Germans; German children would search for hidden pretzels during the Easter season.

Happy Easter with Iconscout

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Easter Icons by Unlimit Icon
Easter Icons by Unlimit Icon
Easter 2017 Icons by Jemis Mali
Easter 2017 Icons by Jemis Mali

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Also published on Medium.