Easter, the Christian celebration that comes off every year’s spring, sweeping four whole days all to itself, is one of the interesting topics we’d love to talk about. From the first day you breathed the air of life into your nostrils, it has been coming and going. But unlike some other annual celebrations, Easter has its unique peculiarities which have been a source of puzzle to many, including you! Below are very fascinating Easter facts that have never crossed your mind.
1. Origin of Easter
Everyone already knows that Christians during Easter, celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the founder of the religious group, Christianity, who was crucified and buried in a tomb, but rose up on the third day.
However, very few knows the actual history of the celebrations and what led to naming it ‘Easter’. According to history, the time that Christians celebrate Easter usually falls within the month ‘Eosturmonath’ in Old English which refers to the goddess of spring and fertility ‘Eostre’. That was how the name Easter came about.
2. All The Significant Days Leading up to Easter
Lent – This is the forty days preceding Easter which stands as a memorial of Jesus’ fasting in the wilderness for forty day. It is a period of fasting and spiritual soberness, especially among the Catholics. During the period, devoted Catholics are not expected to eat meat and other pleasurable foods. It is also a period Christians try to give up negative indulgences in their lives.
Ash Wednesday – This is the first day of the lent season. On this day parishioners receive a mark of the cross on their foreheads from their priests during a church service. The mark which represents repentance from sin is given using ashes gotten from burnt old palms leaves left of the previous year’s Palm Sunday. The practice is also used to remind worshipers of the fact that everyone will die and return to dust.
Palm Sunday – This is the first day of the Holy week. The day that Christians commemorate the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on a colt’s back, ahead of his crucifixion. The name originated from the palm branches that people laid on the streets for Jesus to ride on then. On this day, a crowd of parishioners throng the streets with singing, dancing and rejoicing, wielding fresh palm fronds.
Holy Thursday – It precedes the day Jesus was crucified. It is otherwise known as Maundy Thursday because of the practice of English Monarchs to give away specially minted coins in a public ceremony on that day.
Good Friday – It is the day that Jesus died after being nailed to the cross (crucified). It is called good Friday because his death brought manifold goodness to mankind, seeing that he died for the sins of all.
Holy Saturday – It is the day after Jesus’ crucifixion. It is a day of solemn and sober reflection as Jesus is believed to lie low in the grave.
Easter Sunday – This is the Easter day proper. The day that Christ rose from the dead. Christians celebrate his resurrection as an emancipation from sin and eternal damnation.
3. Why the Date Changes Every Year
The Easter date is determined by the Lunar calendar which is based on the phases of the moon. The date is fixed based on the fullness of the moon – usually the first Sunday after the first appearance of the full moon.
The decision to celebrate Easter on the Sunday that follows the appearance of the first full moon was reached by a Council of Christian Bishops as far back as AD 325 during the reign of Roman Emperor Constantine I.
4. Easter is the Oldest Christian Holiday
Easter is on record as the oldest Christian holiday around the world. It is also ranked by many as the best, especially while considering its length, the time of the year it falls, and the goodies that come with the celebrations.
5. Easter Symbols
The most prominent and original symbols of Easter is the cross and the empty tomb which represents the crucifixion of Christ and his resurrection respectively. Other subsequent ones include the Easter eggs, bunnies, lilies, baskets, etc.
6. Yippee! It’s the First Bank Holiday for the Year
Easter is actually the first holiday recognized all over the world by workers, including bankers. For those who do not participate in the religious activities, it means a long break from work – four good days full of rest, sleep and fun!
7. After-Easter Facts – What follows Easter?
Following Easter is a 50 day period called Eastertide. It starts with the Easter Monday, the day after Easter Sunday and ends on Pentecost Sunday, believed to be the day early Christians received the Holy Spirit.
Easter Facts for Kids
8. Easter Eggs and Bunny Myths
Right from the ancient times, eggs have always been used to represent new life and vitality, especially after the coldness and dryness of winter. The Easter eggs which are usually cracked against one another are used by Christians to symbolise the empty tomb of Jesus after His resurrection. The eggs mean resurrection and new life to them. In some parts of the wold, the Easter eggs are painted red to represent the blood of Jesus.
The Easter Bunny on its on part, could be traced to the ancient English goddess of fertility, Eostre. The worshipers of Eostre then celebrated rabbits because of their abundant procreative nature.
In another explanation, the Easter Bunny represents a rabbit or hare that brings eggs and chocolates to children that behaved themselves. It was first mentioned in a German literature story published around early 1680s, after which the practice gained wide prominence.
9. And Why the Chocolates Too?
The making or coating of Easter eggs with thick chocolates could be traced back to France and Germany around the 19th century. The French Germans are believed to be the first to eat plenty of chocolate egg camouflages during Easter celebrations.
Chocolates are also used to create Easter bunnies, with majority of people biting off the long shooting ears first!
10. The Easter Egg Roll
The Easter egg roll is a practice which represents the rolling away of the stone which covered Jesus tomb by rolling down Easter eggs down hills or steeps. It was first commemorated in 1878 by the 19th American President, Rutherford B. Hayes at the white house and has continued since then till date.
Learnt a lot already? What other interesting Easter facts do you know aside these? Please share with friends at the comment session bellow!