Easter or Resurrection Sunday
Eastern Orthodox Christian icon depicting the Harrowing of Hell or Descent into Hades (cf. Resurrection of Jesus in Christian art)
Easter (Old English usually Ēastrun, -on, or -an; also Ēastru, -o; and Ēostre), also called Pasch (derived, through Latin: Pascha and Greek Πάσχα Paskha, from Aramaic: פסחא, cognate to Hebrew: פֶּסַח Pesaḥ), or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred three days after his crucifixion by Romans at Calvary. It is the culmination of the Passion of Christ, preceded by Lent (or Great Lent), a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.
The week before Easter is called Holy Week, and it contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday), commemorating the Last Supper and its preceding foot washing, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. In western Christianity, Eastertide, the Easter Season, begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending with the coming of the fiftieth day, Pentecost Sunday. In Orthodoxy, the season of Pascha begins on Pascha and ends with the coming of the fortieth day, the Feast of the Ascension.
Easter is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon, the full moon that occurs on or soonest after 21 March (taken to be the date of the equinox). Ecclesiastically, the equinox is thus reckoned to be on 21 March (although the astronomical equinox occurs on 20 March in most years), and the "Full Moon" is not necessarily on the astronomically correct date. The date of Easter therefore varies from 22 March to 25 April inclusive. Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian calendar, whose 21 March corresponds, during the 21st century, to 3 April in the Gregorian calendar, and in which therefore the celebration of Easter varies between 4 April and 8 May.
What Is Holy Week?
Holy Week is the week preceding Easter and the final week of Lent. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday. Holy Week includes Holy Thursday (also known as Maundy Thursday) and Good Friday, which, together with Holy Saturday, are known as the Triduum.
Before the revision of the liturgical calendar in 1969, Holy Week was the second week of Passiontide; in the current calendar, Passiontide is synonymous with Holy Week.
During Holy Week, Christians commemorate the Passion of Christ, Who died on Good Friday in reparation for the sins of mankind, and rose on Easter Sunday to give new life to all who believe. Thus, while Holy Week is solemn and sorrowful, it also anticipates the joy of Easter through the recognition of God's goodness in sending His Son to die for our salvation.
What’s the Origin of the Easter Bunny?
How did the Easter Bunny begin delivering eggs on American shores? According to History.com, the theory with the most evidence is that the floppy-eared bearer of candy came over with German immigrants:
According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests. Additionally, children often left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all his hopping.Bunnies aren’t the animal traditionally associated with Easter in every country. Some identify the holiday with other types of animals like foxes or cuckoo birds.
Easter treats: the history behind your chocolate eggs
Food is often used as a means to communicate religious ideas. Perhaps because food is so fundamental to our survival, reverent importance has been bestowed on many an edible morsel.
From the tofu treats left for the fox companions of the Japanese Shinto deity Inari Okami, to the dates that Prophet Muhammad broke his Ramadan fast with, to the 33 layers of traditional baklava representing the years of Christ’s life, food is a big deal when it comes to spiritual metaphor. The food most closely connected to this time of year is the Easter egg, though its familiar chocolate form is a relatively new design.
Eggs are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. Hindu scriptures teach that the world developed from an egg. The Norse goddess of fertility Ostara (sometimes known as Eostre), whose symbols were the hare and egg, was celebrated around the spring equinox.