The Origins of Easter

Easter is one of the single most important days for the Christian faith, for it celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ! Belief in the resurrection is central to the Christian faith, and Easter is our way to remember the events of the last few days in Jesus’ life.

According to scripture, Jesus was crucified, died and was buried after He went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, the Jewish festival commemorating the ancient Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on what we now call Easter. It is a blessed time for the faithful to celebrate the life, death and resurrection of the Savior… and a very special time for children to learn the story of the resurrection!

But where does the term Easter come from? The exact origins of Easter’s name are unknown. While some assert the word Easter is derived from Eostre, a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, others have connected it with a Latin term hebdomada alba, which means “white week.”

However, Easter is really much longer than just one day. Some Christian denominations begin observing the Easter season with Lent, a 40-day period allowing for reflection and repentance leading up to Easter Sunday. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and represents the 40 days that Jesus spent alone in the wilderness before starting his ministry, a time in which he survived various temptations by the Devil.

The last week of Lent, which is the week leading up to Easter Sunday is called Holy Week. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday and includes Maundy Thursday, which commemorates Jesus’ last supper with his disciples. Next comes Good Friday when we honor the day of Jesus’ crucifixion. Finally, we celebrate Easter Sunday and honor Jesus’ ascension into heaven. This year, Easter will fall on April 8th. It has been called a moveable feast because it doesn’t fall on a set date every year, as most holidays do.

On Easter Sunday, we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Churches are always packed on this holiday and it is typically one of the highest attended Sunday services of the year. This Sunday celebration is a memorial to the death and resurrection of Jesus, marked by singing joyous hymns, wearing bright colors and inviting friends and family to a feast in Jesus’ honor.

Easter is also a remembrance day of why Jesus died on the cross, for us. It is a day to take joy in his resurrection and be thankful for all that God has given us. Much as the day is about the resurrection of Jesus look also to yourself. How am I resurrected? What am I to do with my rebirth and the approaching season. Though it is the end of Lent think of this time as the start of your resurrection. Find new ways to explore life and dedicated to yourself, family, work, and God.

Happy Easter everyone!

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