Easter Celebrations Have a wonderful Easter shared with loved ones... Easter is the most important Christian festival of the year. Easter celebrates the return to life of Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, after His Crucifixion. Jesus's return to life is called the Resurrection. The Gospels tell that on the morning two days after Jesus's death His tomb was found empty. Soon, Jesus's followers began to see Him and talk with Him. Christians believe Jesus's Resurrection means that they, too, can receive new life after death. The Easter festival celebrates this belief. Most Christians observe Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Thus, the festival can occur on any Sunday between March 22 and April 25.
In the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the celebration of Easter may take place later because these churches use additional factors in calculating the date of the festival. The Easter festival is closely associated with spring. The new plant life that appears in spring symbolizes the new life Christians gain because of Jesus's Crucifixion and Resurrection. The word Easter may have come from an early English word, Eastre. Some scholars say Eastre was the name of a pagan goddess of spring, the name of a spring festival, or the name of the season itself. Other scholars believe the word Easter comes from the early German word eostarun, which means dawn. This word may be an incorrect translation of the Latin word albae, meaning both dawn and white. Easter was considered a day of "white" because newly baptized church members wore white clothes at Easter observances. A number of popular customs are observed during the Easter season. Some are followed by most Christians. Others are observed in a particular area or by a particular group. Carnivals provide opportunities for feasting and merrymaking before the solemn fast days of Lent.
Exchanging and eating Easter eggs is a popular custom in many countries. In most cases, chicken eggs are used. The eggs are hard-boiled and dyed in various colors and patterns. Many countries have their own traditional patterns. Probably the most famous Easter eggs are those designed in Ukraine and Poland, where Christians decorate the eggs with complicated red, black, and white patterns. In many countries, children hunt for Easter eggs hidden about the home. Children in the United Kingdom, Germany, and some other countries play a game in which eggs are rolled against one another or down a hill. The egg that stays uncracked the longest wins. Since 1878, children in Washington, D.C., have been invited to roll eggs on the White House lawn.
by Debbie Christensen, Author
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