The History of Easter
Easter is a time of Joy - It is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the son of God.
Easter is the principal festival
of the Christian church year. The origins of Easter date to the beginnings of
Christianity, and it is probably the oldest Christian observance after the
Sabbath (originally observed on Saturday, later on Sunday). Later, the Sabbath
subsequently came to be regarded as the weekly celebration of the Resurrection.
Although principally a celebration commemorating the resurrection, the celebrations of Easter have many customs and legends that are pagan in origin and have nothing to do with Christianity
Scholars, accepting the derivation proposed by
the 8th-century English scholar St. Bede, believe the name Easter is thought to
come from the Scandinavian "Ostra" and the Teutonic "Ostern"
or "Eastre," both Goddesses of mythology signifying spring
and fertility whose festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox.
The English name "Easter" is much newer. When the early English
Christians wanted others to accept Christianity, they decided to use the name
Easter for this holiday so that it would match the name of the old spring
celebration. This made it more comfortable for other people to accept
The prechristian Traditions associated with the festival survive in the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in colored easter eggs, originally painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring, and used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as gifts
The Christian celebration of Easter embodies a number of converging traditions with emphasis on the relation of Easter to the Jewish festival of Passover, or Pesach, from which is derived Pasch, another name used by Europeans for Easter.
Jewish Passover is celebrated during Nisan, the first month of the
Hebrew lunar year. It is an important feast
in the Jewish calendar which is celebrated for 8 days and commemorates the
flight and freedom of the Israelites deliverance from about 300 years of bondage
the Christendom the Sunday of Pascha had become a holiday to honor
Christ. At the same time many of the pagan spring rites came to be a
part of its celebration. May be it was the increasing number of new
converts who could not totally break free of the influence of pagan
culture of their forefathers.
Thus easter is observed by the churches of the West on the first Sunday following the full moon that occurs on or following the spring equinox (March 2I). So Easter became a "movable" feast which can occur as early as March 22 or as late as April 25
Christian churches in the East which were closer to the birthplace of the new religion and in which old traditions were strong, observe Easter according to the date of the Passover festival.