Easter Festival 2020: When, Why and How is it celebrated?
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Easter Festival is celebrated at homes. Celebrations this year have gone online. Queen Elizabeth on 11 April, 2020 said in a recording "This year, Easter will be different for many of us. But by keeping apart, we keep others safe".
The festival is celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon, the Paschal full moon, after the vernal equinox. Easter festival is celebrated by most Christians as they believe in the resurrection of Jesus. According to the Bible, the event is said to have occurred three days after Jesus was crucified by the Romans and died around 30-33 A.D.
What is the meaning of Easter?
It is said that the meaning of Easter is Jesus Christ's victory over death. The festival celebrates the resurrection of Jesus and is considered as a rebirth of Christianity. People believe that Jesus, the son of God, died for everyone's wrong-doings and then came back to life three days later to defeat death and evil.
The word Easter comes from the Anglo Saxon month 'Eostremonath' which means the time of year we now say April when Christian festival was held. Do you know that the month to be named after a German goddess 'Eostre' or 'Ostara'? It is said that the only reference to this name is from the early historian Bede in 725 A.D.
Let us tell you that the week leading up to Easter is known as The Holy Week or Passion Week and includes Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
Note: Palm Sunday is the day when Jesus entered Jerusalem and was celebrated. Maundy Thursday is the "Last Supper" where Jesus met with his disciples to observe Passover and Good Friday when Jesus would be crucified on the cross.
Easter follows a period of fasting known as Lent, in which many churches set aside time for repentance and remembrance. Lent fasting begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Good Friday which is the day of Jesus crucifixion. Pope Gregory 1 established the 40 day period using the 40 - day pattern of Israel, Moses, Elijah and Jesus time in the wilderness.
No doubt Easter is a very significant date within Christianity and is said as the foundation of Christian faith.
The son of God Jesus fulfilled prophecy and through his death, has given the gift of eternal life in heaven to those who believe in his death and resurrection.
When did Easter festival start?
The earliest Christians celebrated the resurrection on the fourteenth of Nisan (March-April) as the date of the Jewish Passover. The days of Jewish were reckoned from evening to evening. Therefore, Jesus had celebrated his Last Supper in the evening of the Passover and was the day of crucified the day of the Passover.
Some Christians started celebrating Easter in the nearest Sunday to the Passover as Jesus actually arose on a Sunday. Basically it became a tradition in the Roman Empire. So, in Roman, Easter is celebrated on different days.
According to some Christians, Pope the date should continue to be based on the timing of the Resurrection during Passover. After determining the date of Passover by the Jewish leaders then they set the date for Easter by figuring three days after Passover. Therefore, every year the date of celebrating Easter festival is different.
Others believed that the Lord rose on Sunday and so this day had been set aside as the Lord's Day. This was the only possible day to celebrate his resurrection.
Symbols of Easter celebration
Easter eggs and Easter Bunny are both fertility symbols, holdovers from the feast of Eostara. Other Symbols include the pagan joy in the rising sun of spring, which coincides with Christians joy in the rising Son of God, candles in the churches were lightened which corresponds to the pagan of bonfires. Even on this day the symbol of the cross and images of Jesus Christ, through paintings or statues are remembered.
Constantine wanted that Christianity should be celebrated from Judaism and did not want Easter to be celebrated on the Jewish Passover. Therefore, the Council of Nicea accordingly required the feast of the resurrection to be celebrated on a Sunday and never on the Jewish Passover. Easter was to be the Sunday just after the full moon after the spring equinox.
So, now you may have come to know about the Easter festival, its celebrations, symbols and history.