What is Easter?
Easter is celebrated the world over to mark the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The young and the old, the rich and the poor, man and woman and people of all races celebrate Easter.
However, Easter has been commercialised to a large extent
by companies manufacturing Easter related goods and items such as greeting cards. It is important that in all the commercialisation of this very important festival, that we do not forget the history of Easter.
So what is the history Of Easter?
Easter is one of the most celebrated festivals of the modern Christian church. According to St.Bede, an English historian of the eighteenth century, Easter owes its origin to the old Teutonic mythology.
The name Easter was originally derived from the word Eostre. Eostre was the ancient Greek goddess of spring. It was believed that every year, Eostre returned to Earth after a long, cold winter and brought along with her the light and warmth of spring. The, ancient Greeks held pagan festivals to welcome Eostre and herald the onset of spring.
The Pagan festivals always coincided with the vernal Equinox on the 21st of March every year. Though the Greek were not fully understanding of why and when spring comes, they believed Eostre must be pleased to ensure that she returns year after year. The festivals were lavish feasts that celebrated the blooming of new flowers, the singing of birds and sunshine. In general the feeling of rejuvenation that is comes with spring.
The Christian church however, changed the Pagan festival from a celebration of spring to a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. In 325 A.D. the church also changed the date of the festival. The festival was no longer held on the spring equinox. Instead, as per the Church Council of Nicaea henceforth it was to be held on the very first Sunday following the full moon on or after the vernal equinox. Thus, today Easter is celebrated on different dates every year and can occur as early as March 22nd or as late as April 25th.
Some people even believe that Easter is related to the Hebrew celebration, the Jewish Passover. Passover is celebrated to mark the freedom of the Israelis from bondage and slavery after 300 years. It was during Passover in 30 A.D. that Christ was crucified for being blasphemous.
The resurrection happened three days later on what is today known as Easter Sunday. The early Christians, many of whom were raised as Jews considered the resurrection and Easter as a new part of pascha. Thus the early celebration of Passover came to be celebrated as Good Friday and Easter.
Today many celebrate Easter across the globe. Easter has become a festival that denotes life, rejuvenation, renewal, rebirth and restoration of all beings on Earth.