“Christ the Lord is risen today, sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; sing, ye heavens and earth reply.” – Charles Wesley
Happy Easter to all! It is time to rejoice and celebrate as the day of Easter offers us the greatest gift of hope.
We all must have heard of Easter Sunday at one point or another, but not many of us are aware of what it means and why it is celebrated by those of the Christian faith. So, let’s take a deeper look into what this day signifies and what the related festivities mean.
While Good Friday is a day to commemorate Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrifices for the redemption of the entire humankind through pious rituals, prayers and promoting forgiveness, Easter Sunday is the day to rejoice and celebrate in galore and festivities. This day marks the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his Crucifixion. The first recorded Easter celebration dates from the 2nd century.
The origin of the English word Easter, which is similar to the German word Ostern, is unknown. The Venerable Bede in the eighth century proposed that it was derived from Eostre, or Eostrae, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility. Easter eggs and the Easter Bunny, that are a must on Easter, are both fertility emblems that date back to the feast of Eostara. Other symbolic analogies include pagan joy in the rising sun of spring, which relates to Christians’ joy in the coming Son of God, and the burning of candles in churches, which equates to pagan bonfires. On Easter Day, the cross emblem and depictions of Jesus Christ, whether in paintings or statues, are recalled.
This viewpoint, like the one that associates the origins of Christmas on December 25 with traditional winter solstice celebrations, assumes that Christians took pagan names and feasts for their holiest festivals. However, given the zeal with which Christians combated all types of paganism (belief in several gods), this belief raises many questions.
Now, however, it is universally agreed that the term originated from the Christian designation of Easter week as in albis, a Latin phrase regarded as the plural of alba (“dawn”), and became eostarum in Old High German, the antecedent of the contemporary German and English terms. Pâques, the French word for Easter, derives from the Latin and Greek Pascha (“Passover”).
Easter Sunday is celebrated on the third day after Good Friday, the day on which Christ was crucified. It signifies the resurrection of Christ and his victory over death. On this day, people praise the lord and applaud him with the phrase ‘He has risen’.
Churches hold prayer meetings and holy marches. People decorate their houses with flowers and incense sticks. They hold parties with lots of food and drinks. Some of the traditional dishes for this day include shepherd’s pie and hot cross buns. Children enjoy decorating Easter eggs, which are often made of chocolate and filled with sweets. Treasure hunts are organized for the kids who go around the venue collecting treats and other items that are hidden away.