When is Easter Celebrated Every Year?
Unlike Christmas, the exact date of Easter might change every year. According to the Gregorian Calendar, Easter can fall anytime from March 22 to April 25. Ideally, Easter falls on the next Sunday of the Paschal Full Moon. It is the first moon after the vernal equinox that is related to the onset of spring.
This year, the Paschal Full Moon is on March 28th and Easter Sunday would be celebrated on April 4th, 2021.
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Why is Easter Celebrated?
The origin of Easter is related to the New Testament of the Bible. According to the Testament, Jesus Christ was arrested by the Romans for claiming to be “the Son of God”. Later, under the strict authorities of the Roman Empire, he was crucified.
Though, three days after he was crucified, Jesus Christ was resurrected. This occasion is known as “Passion of Christ” (Pascha in Latin) and celebrates the resurrection of Christ. Apart from that, the day is also related to the Jewish festival of Passover that falls on the same duration.
The Holy Week and Easter
The commemoration of Christ’s resurrection is associated with the Holy Week. According to the Christian Calendar, Lent is observed 40 days before Easter in which religious believers follow fasting and other customs.
Right before the day of Easter, the Holy Week is observed. Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter) is observed as the last supper of Jesus Christ with his followers. The next day is commonly known as Good Friday, as it is the day when Christ was crucified. Holy Saturday is observed on the next day, which depicts the transition from crucifixion to Christ’s resurrection.
On the eve of the Holy Saturday, a Great Vigil is held that is followed by religious prayers. The next day embarks the day of Christ’s resurrection, which is celebrated as Easter.
Religious Traditions around Easter
Easter is celebrated as a joyful event as it commemorates the return of Jesus Christ. The celebrations usually start from Palm Sunday that occurs a week before Easter. It is perceived as the day when Jesus Christ arrived in Jerusalem. The observance of the Easter Vigil mostly takes place on the evening of Holy Saturday in churches. Apart from that, believers also prepare Easter eggs as they are considered the symbol of fertility and prosperity.
Common Easter Customs around the World
Since Christian followers celebrate Easter in all parts of the world, the festival has undergone various renditions. In ancient Israel, the custom of Easter Lamb was followed and would be used to break the fast.
While Easter Eggs are extremely popular these days, it has become a custom around the last 13th century. Since it was prohibited to eat eggs during the Holy Week, the unused eggs would be decorated by believers instead. Besides that, the idea of an egg also symbolizes life and rebirth, which is related to the spirit of Easter.
In the present time, real eggs have been replaced by sweet-filled and colorful Easter eggs that are considered as a common festival gift. This has even led to numerous events like Easter egg decoration competitions, egg rolling, and all kinds of Easter egg treasure hunts.
In the 17th Century, the custom of having an Easter Bunny was originally started by the Protestant churches in Europe. Today, the Easter Bunny has become strongly associated with the festival as it is expected to bring gifts and chocolates to children on this auspicious day.
Interesting Facts about Easter
- It is assumed that the festival is named after Eostre (an Anglo-Saxon goddess) who is associated with rebirth and fertility.
- The world’s largest Easter Egg is in Vegreville, Canada, and weighs around 5000 pounds.
- Lily is known as the Easter flower and is often considered a gift due to its association with hope and rebirth.
- It is assumed that the concept of the Easter Bunny originated from Germany in the 17th Century.
- In many countries, Easter Fox and Easter Chicken are also considered auspicious (besides Easter Bunny).
- The first chocolate Easter Egg is assumed to be produced in Bristol in 1873 while Cadbury started its commercial production almost two years after that.
- In many countries, it is illegal to dance or party on Good Friday (as several believers mourn the day of the crucifixion).