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Easter - Some History and Hope

By Edited Jun 2, 2016 2 4

The silence

Easter is considered the most sacred holiday of the year and just the mention of this holiday brings us reflections of the birth and then the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. They are soft, gentle and sweet memories and yet sometimes confusing and many questions as to why this plan was chosen.

Easter History

Easter history goes back to when the ancient Saxons celebrated in the second century and it is said that Easter did have a non-religious side also in the beginning and in fact, initially it was considered a pagan festival. It is said that the ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with a festival honoring their goddess of offspring and of springtime, Eostre. When the second-century Christian missionaries encountered the tribes of the north with their pagan celebrations, they attempted to convert them to Christianity.

In that time they could not fully celebrate their holy day with observances that did not coincide with celebrations that already existed so the missionaries decided to spread their religious message slowly throughout the populations of allowing them to continue to celebrate pagan feasts, but to do so in a Christian way. It turns out that the pagan festival of Eostre ( the word is spelled Eastre also in some history) occurred at the same time as the Christian celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. The festival was then altered to make it a Christian celebration as converts were slowly won over at this time and the early name Eostre, was eventually changed to the modern spelling of Easter.

The historians point out that the Easter we celebrate today, is related with the Hebrew tradition, the Jewish Passover. This is celebrated during Nisan, the first month of the Hebrew lunar year. The Jewish Passover under Moses honors Israel's deliverance from about 300 years of bondage in Egypt. It was during this Passover in 30 AD Christ was crucified under the order of the roman governor Polite as the then Jewish high priests who accused Jesus of blasphemy and then we know that the resurrection was three days after the crucifixion

The 4th century, Good Friday came to be celebrated as a separate holiday. It is said that some churches observe Easter according to the date of the Passover festival. The preparation starts on Ash Wednesday from which the period of penitence in the Lent begins. The Lent and the Holy week end on the Easter Sunday, the day of the resurrection. Easter is really an entire season of the Christian church year, as opposed to a one-day observance. Lent, the 40-day period leading up to the Easter Sunday, is a time of reflection and penance and represents the 40 days that Jesus spent alone in the wilderness before starting his ministry, a time in which Christians believe he survived various temptations by the devil. The day before Lent, also known as Fat Tuesday, is a last hurrah of food and fun before the fasting begins. The week preceding Easter is call Holly Week and includes Maundy Thursday, which commemorates Jesus' last supper with his disciples. Good Friday, honors the day of His crucifixion; and Holy Saturday, which focuses on the days between the crucifixion and resurrection. The 50- day period after Easter Sunday is call Eastertide and includes a celebration of Jesus' ascension into heaven.

Easter Basket

Easter in Europe

History tells us that in parts of Europe, huge bonfires are lighted on hilltops and church yards on Easter Eve. It is said they are sometimes call Judas fires, because Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus. The historians indicate that the bonfires predate Christianity and were originally intended to celebrate the arrival of spring.

England

Easter in England is celebrated similar to America. The exchange of Easter Eggs and enjoyable gifts are a part of the celebration. The gifts can be anything from money, clothes, chocolate and sometimes families go on holidays together. Some make Easter bonnets and Easter baskets with spring flowers. They may even have an Easter bonnet competition. The Easter bunny is also part of the Easter tradition n England. The Easter bunny hides the eggs and the children find them. Hot-cross buns are a tradition on Good Friday. They are made up of sweet fruit with yeast and have crosses on top of them.

France

In France Easter is called Paques. It sets off on Good Friday with a serious note, church bells do not ring for three days from Good Friday till the Easter Sunday. This is the mourning period symbolized for the crucified Christ. The children go into the garden to watch the bells "Fly back from Rome" on Easter Sunday. This is how it is described as the parents hide the chocolate eggs as the children look into the sky watching for the returning of the bells.

Germany

The celebration in Germany is called Ostern. Probably the name is derived from the Anglo Saxon goddess of spring, Eostre. The school children have about three weeks holiday at Easter. No one works on Good Friday, Easter Saturday or Easter Sunday. Some people eat fish on Good Friday and on Easter Saturday evening there is a big Easter bonfire. It is very popular and many people gather at these festivities and these fires are burnt as symbols of the end of winter and any bad feelings.

The families enjoy breakfasts together and parents hide Easter baskets with sweets, eggs and small presents. They enjoy hand-painted eggs decorated with established design and exchanged among friends.

Barrel

Sweden

Easter is called Paskdagen. The egg is the symbol of life and resurrection is featured in all Easter food and games. It is history that every household has their own egg coloring party. Egg rolling is a contest that is the favorite Easter activity of the young.

Palm Sunday is observed with palm foods. The eve of Easter is celebrated in Sweden also with bonfires and fireworks.

The Bunny

Today in America

Whatever we believe, it seems that the winter cold is left behind us and in March the spring sets in and it is a new beginning again. The many spring flowers bring many warm and colors of new life, new hope and new blessings.

It is about a Mother's love strong and pure, a Mother's suffering and a Mother's sacrifice. Mary was the Mother who had to close her eyes; I am sure and just weep silently; I am sure she did not want God to see her apprehension of pondering her sons' future. There could be no sacrifice common to what she encountered so many years ago.

As we think about this, my thoughts are about a cross, a Mother and all Mothers who love their children as Mary did Jesus. From the beginning she knew that she had to one day make the sacrifice that no other had ever made; to give him up completely and even though she knew his plight, I am sure the real pain was excruciating.

Mary knew Jesus was conceived to be the King of the Jews. From the very beginning there was fear, I am sure as King Herod reached out to find this new child, who had been called Emmanuel. The child grew and became a young man of great decent to spread the voice and gospel of God. He, also knowing that one day there would be a sacrifice for sins for those who chose to embrace this concept and He went about His Father's business per our history.

Today our celebration still differs from religion to religion but in most aspects it is the about the same meaning. It is about Mom buying the new clothes, the pretty pink dresses with petticoats to match and pink ribbons for the girls and a new blue blazer with khaki trousers, possibly a light blue shirt for the little guys. It is about the many Easter eggs, all colored like the pretty spring flowers with baskets full of chocolate Easter bunnies and eggs. It is about seeing Grandma and Grandpa too and not just dressing up. It is about getting to church, the temple or the cathedral to worship.

Mainly, it is about a Christ who gave His life for the sins of mankind, though He died, yet He still live.

Pretty
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Comments

Mar 14, 2010 3:20am
eileen
That was really interesting and seeing how other countries celebrate it. thanks for sharing
Mar 14, 2010 4:34pm
lindylou
thank you for coming buy and reading Eileen. I appreciate it.
Apr 7, 2010 6:18am
ladybugblue
Good article and interesting to know about the various countries too.
Apr 22, 2010 1:04am
lindylou
thank you for coming by to read and comment ladybuyblue. I appreciate it so much. Thank you again.
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