The resurrection of Jesus, which Easter celebrates, is one of the chief tenets of the Christian faith. The resurrection established Jesus as the Son of God and is cited as proof that God will righteously judge the world. For those who trust in Jesus's death and resurrection, "death is swallowed up in victory." Any person who chooses to follow Jesus receives "a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead". Through faith in the working of God those who follow Jesus are spiritually resurrected with him so that they may walk in a new way of life and receive eternal salvation, being physically resurrected to dwell in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Easter is linked to Passover and the Exodus from Egypt recorded in the Old Testament through the Last Supper, suffering and crucifixion of Jesus that preceded the resurrection. According to the three Gospels, Jesus gave the Passover meal a new meaning, as in the upper room during the Last Supper he prepared himself and his disciples for his death. He identified the bread and cup of wine as his body, soon to be sacrificed, and his blood, soon to be shed. Paul states, "Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed"; this refers to the Passover requirement to have no yeast in the house and to the allegory of Jesus as the Paschal lamb.
Easter, also called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, is a Christian festival and holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day after his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary around 30 AD.
It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, prayer and penance.
Most Christians refer to the week before Easter as "Holy Week", which contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday (see our blog about it), commemorating the Maundy and Last Supper, as well as Good Friday (see our blog about it), commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus.
In Western Christianity the Easter Season, begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending with the coming of the 50th day, Pentecost Sunday. In Eastern Christianity, the season of Pascha begins on Pascha and ends with the coming of the 40th day, the Feast of the Ascension.
Easter and the holidays that are related to it are moveable feasts which do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian or Julian calendars which follow only the cycle of the Sun; rather, its date is offset from the date of Passover and is therefore calculated based on a lunisolar calendar similar to the Hebrew calendar.
The First Council of Nicaea (325) established two rules, independence of the Jewish calendar and worldwide uniformity, which were the only rules for Easter explicitly laid down by the council. No details for the computation were specified; these were worked out in practice, a process that took centuries and generated a number of controversies. It has come to be the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or soonest after 21 March. Even if calculated on the basis of the more accurate Gregorian calendar, the date of that full moon sometimes differs from that of the astronomical first full moon after the March equinox.
Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover (Hebrew: פֶּסַח pesach) by its origin (according to the Bible, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection took place during the Jewish Passover) and by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In most European languages the feast is called by the words for Passover in those languages; and in the older English versions of the Bible the term Easter was the term used to translate Passover.
Easter customs vary across the Christian world, and include sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the church and decorating Easter eggs (symbols of the empty tomb).
The Easter lily, a symbol of the resurrection, traditionally decorates the chancel area of churches on this day and for the rest of Eastertide. Additional customs that have become associated with Easter and are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians include egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, and Easter parades. There are also various traditional Easter foods that vary regionally.
The egg is an ancient symbol of new life and rebirth. In Christianity it became associated with Jesus's crucifixion and resurrection. The custom of the Easter egg originated in the early Christian community of Mesopotamia, who stained eggs red in memory of the blood of Christ, shed at his crucifixion. As such, for Christians, the Easter egg is a symbol of the empty tomb. The oldest tradition is to use dyed chicken eggs, but a modern custom is to substitute decorated chocolate, or plastic eggs filled with candy such as jellybeans; as many people give up sweets as their Lenten sacrifice, individuals enjoy them at Easter after having abstained from them during the preceding forty days of Lent.
Easter eggs are a widely popular symbol of new life in Poland and other Slavic countries' folk traditions. The celebrated House of Fabarge' workshops created exquisite jeweled Easter Eggs for the Russian Imperial family from 1885 to 1916.
BLESSED HAPPY EASTER ! HE IS RISEN !