All About Easter

All About Easter

Did you decorate and collect hidden eggs around the lawn with friends and family during your childhood? This annual event is full of fun-filled experiences that every child treasures.

Easter is widely celebrated and a principal festival of the Christian Church, regarded as the time Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead. Easter is the fulfilled prophecy of the Messiah who would be persecuted, die for our sins, and rise on the third day (Isaiah 53). Celebrating Easter is a way of remembering the resurrection of Jesus and renewing daily hope that we triumph over sin. According to the New Testament, Easter is three days after the death of Jesus on the cross. 

cross-easter-resurrection-concept

Origin of Easter

The story behind Easter comes from the New Testament of the Bible which narrates how Jesus was arrested by the Roman authorities because he claimed to be the “Son of God”. Jesus was sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate. His resurrection three days later marks Easter, becoming the principal festival of the Christian church each year. 

The exact origins of this religious feast day are unknown, but some claim the word Easter is derived from Eostre, a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility. Easter is an entire season of the Christian church year rather than just one day of celebration. The 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday are known as Lent and are a time of reflection and penance. 

Naming this celebration seems to go back to a pre-Christian goddess in England, Eostre, who was celebrated at the beginning of Spring. The only reference to this goddess comes from the writings of the Venerable Bede, a British monk who lived in the late seventh and early eighth centuries. 

Easter’s earliest celebration was first recorded in the 2nd century, though the commemoration of Jesus’ Resurrection probably occurred earlier. Easter means East where the sun rises, bringing light, warmth, and hope, a symbol for the Christian of the rising Christ, who is the true Light of the world. The Paschal Candle used during the Easter Vigil is a central symbol of this divine light, which is Christ. It is kept near the ambo throughout Easter time and lit for all liturgical celebrations.

easter-candle-welcomes-light

The Easter Celebration

Lent is the period of fasting when many churches set aside time for repentance and remembrance. Ash Wednesday is the starting of Lent and ends on Good Friday, the day when Jesus was crucified. 

Holy Week, or Passion Week, includes Palm Sunday (the day Jesus entered Jerusalem and was celebrated), Maundy Thursday (the “Last Supper” where Jesus met with his disciples to observe Passover), and Good Friday (when Jesus would be crucified on the cross). This is the week that leads to Easter. 

Easter Traditions

The celebration of Easter is commemorated with special church services, music, candlelight, flowers, and the ringing of church bells. In addition to Easter’s religious significance, part of the celebration of Easter is the giving of chocolate Easter eggs and Easter bunnies. Easter egg hunting and egg rolling are also popular.

Egg Hunting on Easter

Coloring and hunting for Easter eggs are two of the most popular traditions of Easter. The egg, an ancient symbol of new life, has long been associated with pagan festivals celebrating Spring. From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection. Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century, according to some sources. It is believed that eggs were formerly a forbidden food during the Lenten season, so people would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting. The eggs would then be eaten on Easter as a celebration.

Bunnies at Easter

The story of the Easter Bunny is thought to have originated in the 19th Century, but it first arrived in America in the 1700s. Rabbits usually give birth to a big litter of babies (called kittens), so they became a symbol of new life. Legend has it that the Easter Bunny lays, decorates, and hides eggs as they are also a symbol of new life. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S., and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of threats, while decorated baskets replaced nests. Additionally, children often left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all his hopping. The bunny doesn’t do all his work alone though! In Switzerland, Easter eggs are delivered by a cuckoo, and in parts of Germany by a fox.

easter-bunny-eggs

Candy at Easter

Easter is the second-best candy-selling holiday in America (after Halloween). Candy eggs became wildly popular in the mid-1800s, but since the early 19th century, the most popular sweet treats associated with Easter have been chocolate eggs. Since then, a basket full of chocolatey creations has become a beloved annual tradition. Easter baskets are filled with classic chocolate eggs, bunnies, and so much more. New Easter candies are added each year, with marshmallow flavors on the rise and bright pastel colors abundant. 

chocolate-easter-bunny-candy

Foods at Easter

Delectable and mouth-watering foods are plentiful at Easter. Lamb is a popular seasonal dish in the Spring, but the majority of traditional Easter foods that we know and love have religious origins. Though some foods have developed their significance as Easter symbols in modern times too.

Traditional Easter foods include:

Roast Lamb: Lamb is linked to Jesus being the sacrificial lamb of God. This is also associated with the season because many lambs are born in Spring.

Chocolate Eggs: The Cadbury brothers created chocolate eggs as an experiment in the 19th century. This was initiated to make it easier to decorate Easter eggs rather than decorating real ones. The first decorated Easter eggs were covered with marzipan flowers and filled with sugared almonds. 

Simnel Cake: The origin of Simnel cake is still unclear, but the traditional cake is made with a layer of marzipan in the middle and on top and has 11 marzipan balls to represent the apostles (with Judas left out because of his betrayal). 

simnel-cake

Easter Bunnies: Bunnies are associated with Easter because of their fertility. Over the years this legend has developed to be part of Easter by including these chocolatey treats.

Carrots: Bunnies are always associated with carrots and consequently with Easter! Children often leave carrots for the Easter bunny, bake cakes with carrots on top, are included as a tasty seasonal side dish for roasted lamb. 

Hot Cross Buns: These yummy buns are traditionally eaten during Good Friday. The cross on top of these fruit buns is a symbol of the crucifixion. It is believed that hot cross buns baked on Good Friday never get moldy throughout the year. Splitting a bun with a friend and saying, “Half for you and a half for me, between us two, shall goodwill be” means that the friendship will strengthen in the coming years.

hot-cross-buns

These are just a few of the many foods that are served during Easter. Another way of adding new and refreshing recipes to your table this season is to try our Easter Cookbook. You can check it at https://invincible-body.com/easter-cookbook-v4/  and enjoy 10 Easter recipes that are easy to make, delicious, and healthy too!

Indeed, Easter Sunday is one of the most festive events among Christians worldwide, commemorating Jesus Christ’s resurrection from death, as written in the Christian bible. The holiday has become more commercialized with the sale of chocolate eggs, bunnies, and baskets, but it is still seen as a special day for spending time with family and friends.

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