Easter is just around the corner. While in our culture Christmas gets all the excitement, Easter has been a special and important celebration throughout history. It is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. I thought I would give you some background facts about the celebration of Easter.
–Easter is also called Pascha for the Greek/Latin word. It is also sometimes called Resurrection Sunday.
–The week from Palm Sunday to Easter is often called Holy Week.
–Holy week includes the Great Triduum. These are the three great Holy Days of that week. They include Maundy Thursday to celebrate the foot washing, last supper, betrayal, and arrest of that night. Good Friday is a day to remember the crucifixion of Jesus. Easter is the day of the Resurrection of Jesus.
–You will notice that Saturday is left out of the Great Triduum. This is called Holy Saturday, Black Saturday, or Easter Eve. It marks the day that Jesus was in the tomb. There is not celebration this day, except for some gatherings of solemn prayer.
–Easter moves every year. The First Council of Nicaea in 325AD established rules for when it is celebrated. The Eastern Orthodox church does not follow these same dates.
–There is a tradition called the Paschal Greeting or the Easter Acclamation. The pastor or liturgist says something like, “Christ is Risen.” The proper response is, “He is risen indeed.” This is a longstanding Christian tradition.
–Easter lilies are a symbol of resurrection. They are some of the first flowers of Spring and often bloom around Easter.
–Easter eggs have long been a symbol of the empty tomb. We don’t know when the tradition started, but we do know that Martin Luther was known to host Easter egg hunts in German churches.
–The Easter Bunny was originally the “Easter Hare.” This was a German legend and was similar to Santa Clause. The Easter Hare would judge children’s behavior for Easter. If they were good, the Easter hare would bring a basket of colored eggs, candy, and sometimes toys for them.
Have a great Easter!