Society

Easter is more than colored eggs, candy

When you think of Easter, you probably think of the Easter Bunny, colored eggs and lots of candy... but to Christians around the world it is much, much more. Easter is the most important Christian holiday of the year.

Easter Day is the day Christians remember Jesus rising from the dead. After his brutal crucifixion, a large stone was rolled over his tomb. But shortly after his death when followers went back to honor Jesus, the stone had mysteriously been moved and only the cloth that wrapped Jesus’ body was laying there. As the story goes, Jesus’ body was no longer in the tomb and he had in fact risen from his death in order to save us all. An angel nearby this tomb told his followers of the miracle that had taken place.

The resurrection, as described in the Bible, means that at the very moment Jesus rose from the dead, was the very moment we would be given everlasting life. Christians would now receive new life after death. The Easter holiday celebrates this belief. Easter is therefore the last day celebrated during a 40 day Easter season.

The season begins with Lent, a 40- day period before Easter Sunday. During Lent, Christians prepare for Easter. Lent is considered a time for penance, a time to show sorrow for sins and to seek forgiveness.

One way many Christians show their sorrow is by fasting, which limits the kinds and amounts of food that are eaten. Christians may also give something up during this 40 week period as patron- age to the suffering of Jesus. While not all Christ ians fast during Lent, those that do pat- tern their behav- ior after Jesus who prayed and fasted in the wild erness before his death on the cross.

Lent begins on Ash We d ne s - day and most churches hold specials services in the evening. At many of those services ashes are placed on the foreheads of worshipers to remind them to have a humble spirit. Lent continues until Holy Week, which is the final week of Lent and recalls the events leading up to Jesus’ sacrifce and ultimate death, a death he freely accepted.

Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, which celebrates the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, where people spread palm branches and clothing before him. Good Friday is the day Jesus died on the cross and many believe it happened between the hours of 12 noon and 3 p . m . Many churches hold services duri ng this time to reflect on the last three hours of darkness while Jesus suffered on the cross.

On Easter Sunday Jesus’ resurrection is celebrated. Outdoor Easter services sometimes take place at sunrise to celebrate Jesus’ resur rect ion. Just as Jesus rose from the dead, Christians believe they too will rise from the dead and ascend into Heaven. It’s important to note that Easter is not a time to dwell on death and sorrow, but rather the fact that Jesus did rise just as prophesized in the Holy Bible. This miracle of renewed life has given Christians hope, faith and love since they know Jesus died willingly in order to save the human race.

Easter is also closely associated with the season of Spring. The new plant life that appears in spring symbolizes the new life Christians gain because of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Easter is also considered a day of “white” because newly baptized church members wear white clothes at Easter observances.

Here are some of the most widely recognized symbols of Easter.

Easter Bells—A re rung in France and Italy throughout the year but they are not rung on the Thursday before good Friday. They are silent as way to remember the death of Jesus. They are then rung on Easter Sunday as way of telling people Jesus is alive again.

The Cross—This is the symbol for the Christian religion as Jesus was nailed to a cross but then came back to life.

The Easter lily—The lily was a reminder to the Christians of how Jesus came back to life. The white Easter Lily is used in many Easter services. It is supposed to be a symbol of the purity of the Virgin Mary.

Easter flowers—Such as daffodil, narcissus and the tulip. Area symbol as they bloom in the spring.

P u ssy willows—These a re especially picked at Easter in England and Russia. People would tap each other on the shoulders with a branch of the pussy willow for good luck.

Lambs—The lamb is a symbol as people thought of Jesus as the Good Shepherd who would watch over them as they were lambs. Lambs are born in spring. The Israelites also used lamb’s blood to save their firstborn in ancient Egypt.

Rabbits—Rabbits are reminder of spring and new life. They were the favorite animal of the spring goddess Eastre.

The egg—These are a symbol of spring as well as Easter. They are a sign of new life.

Chicks—The chicks are born from eggs and are a reminder of spring and Easter.

Candles—Candles give light in darkness. Jesus is seen as “the in. eternal light” showing Christians the way from death to life.4.75

Palm branches—These are used as a symbol of peace.

Bread—Unleavened flat bread is eaten to remember Jesus’s sacrifice.

Wine—Red wine is drunk to remember Jesus shedding His blood for humans.

Fireworks—These are believed to frighten away evil spirits. They also show that out of darkness comes light.

Reprinted from EverythingEaster.com


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2011-04-21 digital edition



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