When Is Easter: What Is Easter All About

This weekend marks the Easter weekend, which is widely considered to one of the most pivotal holidays on the Christian calendar.

For Christians, Easter marks the time where the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is commemorated after Lent (a 40-day fasting period starting with Ash Wednesday and concluding on Good Friday).

The holiday has particular importance for the Christian faith because of its symbolic representation of the validity of Jesus Christ being the son of God because had he not risen, Christ would have been considered to be more akin to a prophet than a deity.

As such, it is widely considered to be the greatest feast of the Christian calendar year and here’s why.

The History of Easter

Though the secularisation of the holiday has been hotly debated, Easter actually has its origins in pagan celebrations.

According to most historians, the name “Easter” can be traced to the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility Eostre/Eostrae, with the pagan celebration centring around the goddess being that of a celebration of the earth’s resurrection and rebirth.

Given that Easter marks the celebration of Christ’s own resurrection, there seem to be more similarities in common than meets the eye.

Easter also closely coincides with the Jewish holiday of Passover and is generally celebrated on the Sunday of each year following the first full moon after the conclusion of the Spring equinox.

Easter’s importance to Christianity

According to the Gospel of John in the New Testament of the Bible, three days following the crucifixion of Christ, Mary Magdalene visited Christ’s tombstone, only to find it empty. An angel then told her that Christ had risen.

Given his resurrection, the period during Good Friday and Easter Sunday is a tremendous Christian celebration because the resurrection of Christ became the foundation of everything that the Apostles said and did.

Prior to his crucifixion, in roughly 30 AD, the very reason for Christ’s arrest by Pontius Pilate is because of his claims of being the son of God.

A controversial claim at the time, had Christ not risen following his declaration, it would invalidate everything he said and taught as the “son of God” and be interpreted as proof of his fallacies.

However, as Christ rose, so did the belief in him being God’s human successor and thus became the Apostle’s foundational “proof” that everything he said was true and, as such, is considered to be the foundational framework for the validity of Christian faith.

Even beyond a citation, symbolically the resurrection of Christ is a representation of the promise of eternal life. Because Christ rose from the dead, it meant that an eternal afterlife is granted to all those who believe him.

It is also the ultimate symbol of Christ’s sacrifice for the sins people commit, to be forgiven by God (i.e., “He died for our sins”).

Without the resurrection, there would be no Christian faith.

Where do the bunnies fit into this?

So, with all the celebration of Easter (somewhat ironically) being essentially a celebration of life, why has a rabbit become the face of such a momentous religious feast?

As with Christmas, the tokens that have come to symbolise the occasion is more associated with its pagan roots than religious regalia.

The Easter egg and Easter bunny take after the Anglo-Saxon deity that is meant to symbolise fertility, most likely due to the furry mammal’s infamous breeding capabilities.

Either way, whether an egg or cross, symbolic iconography for Easter both ultimately represent the promise of rebirth and exaltation of life anew – Eostre, through fertility, and Christ through the promise of eternal life and infinite forgiveness.

So, however you choose to celebrate the occasion, remember to commemorate life and the constant promise of something greater on the horizon while you’re at it.

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