This blogpost series is called Holidays and Holy Days to inform our OSU community about significant religious and spiritual observances.  If you know of a significant holiday or holy day coming up, please communicate the information to Hannah Pynn hannah.pynn@oregonstate.edu in the Dean of Student Life office.

March 31st, 2013 is the Christian and Catholic holiday of Easter.

Eastern Orthodox Christianity celebrates Easter on May 5th, 2013. 

Happy Easter!

 

Context

The celebration of Easter is a time for Christians to remember the resurrection of Jesus, who Christians believe to be fully God and fully human. According to the New Testament in the Bible, Jesus was put to death and physically raised from the dead three days later. Christians believe this action to be the defining moment in history, that all time had pointed to this moment, and that Jesus’ defeat of death represents new life for all who believe in His divinity. Jesus self-identified as being the Son of the Abrahamic God and claimed that His death reconciled man’s division from God.

Easter is celebrated by western Christianity and Catholicism according to the lunisolar patterns on the Gregorian calendar. The moveable date for Easter was established in 325CE by the First Council of Nicaea to be on the first Sunday after the full moon following the March equinox. Eastern Orthodox Christian traditions are set according to the Julian calendar, which has a 13-day difference from the Gregorian calendar. The precise date of when Jesus rose from the dead is not conclusive by scholars, therefore Easter is celebrated as a moveable feast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Significance

Easter is recognized by Christians as the most important Christian holiday. The 40 days leading up to Easter are observed as Lent, a solemn time of remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice and love for all people. The week before Easter is called Holy Week that celebrates the last few events of Jesus’ life before He was unjustly killed and rose from the dead. Holy Week recognizes the events of Palm Sunday, Maundy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Each of these days reflects events recorded in the Christian Bible about the plots to kill Jesus, Jesus’ anticipation and willingness to sacrifice Himself, His betrayal, the trial of Jesus, the torture of Jesus, the unjust killing of Jesus as a common criminal, and the burial of Jesus.

Because of historical connections to the lunisolar calendar, many Easter traditions are derived from Pagan traditions that celebrate the changes during the spring equinox. Eggs and rabbits are fertility symbols that Christians adopted from the Germanic pagan goddess of the dawn, Ēostre. However, many symbols of new life also remind Christians of the open relationship they can have with God as a result of Jesus taking on the punishment that they deserve.

Pope Francis

 

Rituals/Traditions

  1. Attending midnight or sunrise church services
  2. Symbols include: red or colored eggs, lilies, empty tombs, crosses, candles
  3. Music, singing, and dancing to joyfully remember new life because of Jesus
  4. Celebratory processionals
  5. New clothes
  6. Meals shared with family and friends
  7. Lamb served as the main course representing Jesus as the sacrificed innocent lamb

Additional Resources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_customs

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/31/easter-photos_n_2988649.html#slide=2285003

http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/common/easter-sunday

 

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