Easter Day celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and is the most important and oldest festival of Christians. Easter Day is also known as Easter Sunday or the Resurrection Day. Being the central feast in the Christian liturgical year, Easter is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy by Christians of throughout the world. Since on this very day Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended into the heaven, Easter marks the transition from death to life and night to day, and prominently known and recognized as the festival of rejuvenation of living and life. Moreover, Easter symbolizes the beginning of new optimistic and promising things, and joys of the spring season.
Easter Day or Easter Sunday is a movable festival, and is not celebrated on the same date every year. Easter Day celebration varies in between March 22 and April 25. Western Churches following the Gregorian calendar, celebrate Easter Sunday on observance of full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21. While the Orthodox Christians who follow the Julian calendar to calculate the Easter date, celebrate this festival generally after one week or two.
History of Easter Day
According to the history, Easter Day commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion and death. Easter Day is followed by the Eastertide, a fifty-day long period comprising of Mardi Gras and Lent. Lent is a forty-day period of fasting, prayers, reflection, and penance, and ends with the Easter Sunday. The last week of Lent is the Holy Week, and contains the Good Friday. Lent represents the 40-days Jesus spent in the wilderness wandering, surviving various evil and beguiling temptations by the devil. Good Friday commemorates the day of crucifixion and death of Jesus. The Holy Saturday represents the transition period between the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Mardi Gras is the last feast of food and fun before the start of Lent, and Maundy Thursday marks the last supper of Jesus with his disciples.
Easter Celebrations around the world
Christians of all around the world make comprehensive and elaborate preparations to celebrate Easter Sunday with great fervor, optimism, and joy. Though Easter customs slightly vary across the Christian world, decorating beautiful Easter eggs and gift-giving have been the common motifs everywhere.
There are a number of symbols inherently associated with Easter celebrations such as decorated eggs, chicks, white lilies, rabbits, sunrise service, and new outfits. Easter eggs are believed to represent the bright beginning of optimism and life, while the rabbits (a symbol of fertility) and chicks are considered to represent rebirth of the earth. Also, the white Lily, sometimes also known as the Easter lily, is said to be the symbol of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
However, the concept about Easter Gifts has changed more or less over the years, in all around the world. In the past years, Easter gifts generally used to be candies and chocolates in the form of Easter eggs, bells, fish, and bunnies. But today, most of the people want and prefer to give and take gifts which can be of some use, and therefore, Easter baskets, Easter fresh fruit cakes, and easy Easter crafts have become very popular, for Easter celebrations all around the world.