Easter is a widely recognized Christian festivity celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Stories found in the New Testament of the Bible recorded the resurrection to have taken place three days right after the crucifixion and death of Jesus, son of God and savior of mankind. The Easter celebration concludes a 40-day fasting period, often referred to as the Lent season and is part of the Holy Week celebration. In the Easter: McEaster Valley book by Walter Hoge, the author touches on the Easter festivity when he talks about how the McEaster Valley celebrated the Christian festival. More than just the food, the fun, and the games, the Easter egg decorating and hunting, what makes this Christian festivity one of the most celebrated Christian traditional holidays worldwide?
Easter and Its Significance
Easter equates to life, a celebration of life from death. To the Christian religion, Easter is all about celebrating how Jesus Christ overcame death, coming back to life after his death through crucifixion, making him the ultimate savior of mankind from mankind’s sin. Easter is celebrated on Sunday, concluding a “Holy Week” event, which starts on Maundy Thursday, then Good Friday, Black Saturday, and Easter Sunday.
Easter Sunday is also called Resurrection Sunday, the day when Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Jesus Christ’s resurrection further embedded him as the son of God, the leading eventuality to all the miracles he performed while still alive. Easter’s significance is more at a symbolic level. Christians believed that because of Jesus’ resurrection, there is hope for mankind from their sins, that there is hope for mankind to be saved from purgatory and a chance to go to heaven, the end goal of Christianity.
There are also a lot of non-religious people celebrating Easter Sunday. For non-Christians, Easter Sunday is more of a celebration of spring and renewal of life and hope. More due to the reason that Easter is usually timed and celebrated during spring, and many non-religious people celebrate Easter in a pagan way, or the traditions and practices during this season, way before the birth and death of Jesus Christ. Either way, Christians or non-Christians, both share the same core message when celebrating Easter: the message of hope and renewal.
One of the most well-known and well-loved symbols of Easter is the Easter bunny. Albeit there is no mention in the Bible of a short-tailed, long-eared bunny delivering eggs that are colorfully decorated to children, the Easter bunny is one of the significant symbols of Easter Sunday. Origins of this mythical creature are not clear, but bunnies have always been considered a symbol of new life, renewal, and fertility in ancient times.
Stories of the Easter bunny first told of the creature arriving in America in the 1700s with a group of German immigrants. These German immigrants have a folklore about a hare called “Osterhase,” an egg-laying hare. They assimilated the tradition by creating nests on which the hare could lay colored eggs on, and eventually, this tradition spread across the U.S.
Easter Eggs are also another favorite Easter symbol. The eggs are a representation of the pagan festivities during springtime. For Christians, these eggs are symbolic of Jesus Christ’s rising from the dead and his resurrection. Eating eggs are forbidden back then during the Lenten time. Instead of eating the eggs, people would paint, decorate, hide them, and then eat them on Easter Sunday. Hence, the Easter egg hunt began to come into play.
Easter bread is also very much part of the Christian celebration. It represents the “body of Christ,” or the “communion,” the bread-eating practice as part of Christianity. It is also symbolic of the Last Supper when Jesus Christ broke bread and shared it with his disciples.
The Easter lamb is also one of the traditional Easter-type foods. Jesus Christ is also referred to as the “Lamb of God .” The lamb, either as a food or as a symbol, is present throughout the Bible. In the story of Exodus, the Jewish people painted their doors with the blood of a lamb as a sign that the angel of death that God has sent out to kill all the firstborn sons will pass by or “pass over” their houses. The shepherd and the lambs are also an important theme in the New Testament, where Jesus is often regarded as the “shepherd” looking for the lambs or the sheep that have strayed from the flock, referring to the sinners. And eating lambs has been an Easter tradition since then. Easter is a widely held festivity celebrated by both Christians and non-Christians alike. Christians celebrate the holiday in commemoration of the death and resurrection of the son of God. Non-Christians observe the Easter holiday to celebrate springtime, a celebration of the renewal of life and hope. Regardless of religion or denomination, it cannot be denied that Easter is a happy holiday, a day for celebration, a celebration of hope and life across all cultures.