Everything You Need to Know About Easter!
Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his death. Christians believe it as a fulfilled promise of their Messiah, who would rise again from his death and redeem them from their sins after enduring much torture and torment from the Jews. It is traditionally observed on a full moon day on the first Sunday after the spring equinox. Easter follows a timeline of 40 days which was first instituted by Pope Gregory I representing the 40 days when he went into the deserts fasting and praying in silence, preparing for his passion. People observe lent from Ash Wednesday till Good Friday. It is a time for them to reflect and repent in silence for their sins. Easter includes a lot of interesting customs and traditions followed with much reverence and sentiment, and few of its significance is mentioned in this blog.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the 40 days of lent. It dates back to the Roman era when individuals would wear sackcloth, sprinkle Ash, and fast to repent of their crimes. On this day, people put ash on their foreheads as a reminder that "we are all just dust" and that "we shall all return to dust." Ash is obtained from the burnt palms used on Palm Sunday.
Yet another significant part of Easter celebrations is the holy week. It is observed a week before Easter from the Palm Sunday and is devoted to the passion of Jesus. It refers to the week where he suffered under Romans, starting from his trial till his resurrection on Easter. The important days of the Holy week are as follows.
- Palm Sunday: This is the first day of the holy week which marks his entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, where he was welcomed by people waving palms and singing praises.
- Spy Wednesday – This was the day when Jesus was betrayed by his friend Judas for just 30 silver coins.
- Maundy Thursday – On this day, Jesus celebrated his last supper before his death with his disciples, and he also got arrested on this day.
- Good Friday - This day is essential for Christians for it marks the death of Jesus. It begins with his trial before the famous Roman emperor Pontius Pilate, him carrying the cross, his crucifixion, death, and burial. People observe fasting on this day to pay their reverence to him.
- Holy Saturday – On this day, several of Jesus' female followers discover him missing in his tomb when paying a visit to his grave. This day concludes with the Easter vigil, where people celebrate his resurrection.
Easter Eggs and Easter Bunnies
Easter eggs symbolize the resurrection. Like how the egg breaks to give out new life, so did the tombs break, and Jesus rose from death. Easter eggs are often painted red to signify the bloodshed of Jesus on the cross. Rabbits are known to produce more offspring and are hence considered symbols of new life. People also organize egg hunts for children on Easter day. Easter eggs are decorated beautifully and are stuffed with goodies that children widely like. This has become a good pastime on Easter day and is a part of the celebrations followed for centuries. It is believed that the Germans first introduced this tradition of Easter Bunnies.
Significance of the Color Codes on Easter
- The Color Purple
Purple was considered a regal hue by the Romans, and kings, high-ranking officials, and royal family members all donned purple clothing. Since obtaining the purple dye required a lot of man labor and more money, it was preferred and afforded only by the royal people. The Romans used purple to mock and humiliate Jesus, for they thought he proclaimed himself a King. They even dressed him in purple before his crucifixion and shouted, "Hail King of Jews." In remembrance of his death and passion, the church follows a color scheme of purple during the lent. The Priests wear purple vestments and use purple cloth on the altars and lecterns.
- The Color White
White signifies purity and grace. It symbolizes the resurrection of Jesus, which is also compared to the innocence of the white lamb. Therefore on the day of Easter, Priests wear white robes and change all purple to white in order to rejoice in the victory over death.
Prominent Easter Food
Apart from observing fast, prayer and penance, Easter is also known for feasting. People do include specific culinary recipes in the course of their fasting and feasting, all of which have some exciting symbolism behind them. Different countries follow different food recipes, among which the most common ones are mentioned below.
Eggs, as we know, are symbols of new birth and signify the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb and are prominently found in an Easter meal. People make chocolate eggs at home and load them with goodies or just dye boiled eggs red which symbolizes the bloodshed of Jesus.
- Hot Cross Buns
Yet another significant Easter food, the Hot cross buns, were believed to be initially made by a monk at St. Albans, who distributed them to the poor on Good Friday. The cross on top of the buns symbolizes the cross on which Jesus was crucified and is widely eaten by people during lent.
- Roasted Lamb
Lambs are images of purity and grace and also symbolize the sacrifice of Jesus. Roasted Lambs are a mandatory dish on the lunch menu on Easter day, and it used to be the main dish on the menu of Jews during the Passover festival.
- Simmel Cake
It has a fascinating significance. The cake is usually topped with 11 Marzipan balls which symbolize the 11 disciples of Jesus (excluding Judas Iscariot) whom he took with him to heaven.
Pretzels are the most preferred snack during the lent, which includes simple ingredients like water, salt, and flour since most Christians avoid dairy products during Lent. Pretzels are highly consumed for their shape, which symbolizes hands locked together in prayer.
So, why wait? Start decorating your EASTER EGGS now!