Festivals of India, March 20th, 2024
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Easter, a Christian holiday, is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, as described in the New Testament of the Bible. It is considered the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church. The exact origins of the word “Easter” are uncertain, but it may have been derived from the Anglo-Saxon word “Eostre,” the name of a pagan goddess of spring and fertility.

The date of Easter varies each year, falling on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox, typically between March 22 and April 25. This timing is tied to the Jewish Passover, as the Last Supper shared by Jesus and his disciples before his crucifixion is thought to have been a Passover meal.

Easter is preceded by Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance in preparation for Easter Sunday. Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter, begins with Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, where crowds greeted him with palm branches. Maundy Thursday recalls the Last Supper, Good Friday marks Jesus’ crucifixion, and Holy Saturday is a time of reflection on Jesus’ death and descent into hell.

Easter Sunday is the culmination of Holy Week, celebrating Jesus’ resurrection. Christian churches hold special services, including sunrise services, to mark the occasion. Many traditions and symbols are associated with Easter, including the Easter bunny, Easter eggs, and Easter lilies.

The Easter bunny is a symbol of fertility and new life, likely originating from pagan spring festivals. In some cultures, children believe that the Easter bunny delivers colored eggs, candy, and toys on Easter Sunday morning.

Easter eggs are another widely recognized symbol of the holiday. They represent new life and resurrection, as a chick hatches from an egg. Decorating eggs is a common Easter tradition, with various techniques such as dyeing, painting, and decorating with stickers or markers.

The Easter lily, with its pure white petals and trumpet-like shape, symbolizes purity, hope, and the resurrection of Jesus. Churches often adorn their altars with Easter lilies during the Easter season.

In addition to these symbols, many cultures and countries have their own unique Easter traditions. In Greece, for example, it is customary to roast a whole lamb for Easter dinner. In Poland, families prepare elaborate baskets filled with traditional foods to be blessed by priests on Holy Saturday.

Easter is also a time for family gatherings and feasting. Special Easter meals often feature dishes such as roast lamb, ham, and various spring vegetables. Desserts like hot cross buns, simnel cake, and Easter bread are also popular during the holiday season.

Overall, Easter is a time of joy and celebration for Christians around the world. It commemorates the central event of the Christian faith—the resurrection of Jesus Christ—and serves as a reminder of hope, new life, and redemption. Whether through religious observance, cultural traditions, or simply enjoying time with loved ones, Easter holds significance for millions of people worldwide.

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