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Easter

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Easter, which is the oldest and holist Christian festival, is
the sacred celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
This festival is the climax and centre of the liturgical year
and a pointer towards all other holy days. This festival is
celebrated by all the denominations a part from the fact how
they follow the liturgical calendar.

 

The derivation of the name “Easter”: According to the Venerable
Bede, an Anglo-Saxon cleric and historian of late 7th century/
early 8th century England, the term Easter is originated from
Eostre or Eastre which is a Teutonic goddess of the spring in
the northern hemisphere. On the other hand several scholars
dispute this theory and many people believe that “Easter” comes
from the same root as the English word “east,” which is the
direction of the rising sun. The German designation for Easter
is Ostern and so as this designation varies from culture to
culture.

Easter‘s Date

The most common observation for determining the date of Easter
is that it is the first Sunday that fellows the full moon after
the vernal equinox. This means that in Roman Catholic, Lutheran,
Episcopalian and Protestant churches, Easter can take place as
early as March 22 and as late as April 25.

Worship during the Easter Season

The Easter season is one of the most joyful an spirited seasons
of the Christian year. Hymns and organ music are reinforced with
trumpets and trombones, adding the spirit and motivation to the
season through music. In some churches an old custom which is
observed is that kneeling is done away with on Easter Sunday.
Christians follow the rule of Standing – a symbol of rising and
resurrection which is the posture for the confession of sins and
the reception of Holy Communion. Chancels and sanctuaries are
decorated with banners and flowers, among which Easter lilies are
the most traditional as their white, symbolic of gladness and
holiness is the liturgical colour for all the Sunday of Easter.
Lastly, the paschal candle is allowed to shine continuously
throughout the Great Fifty Days.

Paschal Candles

The paschal candle indicates the ancient symbol of the risen Jesus
and is commonly used in liturgical parishes during the Easter
festival. It is a very large white candle as it has to be the
largest and tallest of all sanctuary candles. These candles are
always inscribed with cross, the current year, and the Greek
letters alpha and omega which signify that the Lord is present in
His church now in the present year and forever in eternity. These
paschal candles are also lighted at Christian funerals as a
reminder that those who die in Christ are raised up with him.

Origins of Easter Eggs

In many ancient cultures, eggs used to be a common symbol of new
life. In medieval times, Eggs represented the Lord’s resurrection.
Just as Christ broke out of the tomb on Easter morning, the yolk
of the egg breaks out of its shell when cracked. These eggs
decoration for Easter season is a part of the folk traditions
observed in many cultures although it has little or no religious
significance any more.

Origins of Easter Rabbit

The Easter rabbit is that popular and unsacred symbol for Easter
which has never taken on a Christian interpretation. It is said to
be originated from the hare, which is a symbol of fertility in
ancient Egypt and later on in parts of Europe. The association of
Easter rabbit with the laying eggs is still not clear.

 

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