Easter: When and why it’s celebrated
Holy Week in Christianity starting on March 25 includes Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
Easter’s celebration date changes every year. It is one of the most important Christian celebrations and it commemorates the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb.
When is Easter?
Easter is usually celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon, after the spring equinox.
According to the Bible, Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection occurred around the time of the Jewish Passover, which was celebrated on the first full moon following the spring equinox. This led to Christians celebrating Easter on different dates each year.
- For the Western churches, the earliest Easter can fall is on March 22, and the latest it is on April 25.
- Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian Calendar. Because of the 13-day difference between the calendars, March 21 corresponds to April 3 in the Gregorian Calendar. Easter, therefore, varies between April 4 and May 8 in the Gregorian calendar.
- Easter 2018: This year, in the Gregorian calendar, Easter will fall on Sunday, April 1, and, in the Julian calendar, it will fall on Sunday, April 8.
- Christians celebrate Easter on a Sunday as it was the day Jesus rose from the dead, after being crucified on a Friday two days before.
- Holy Week in Christianity is the week just before Easter and includes Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
- Palm Sunday: March 25. It commemorates the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, when palm branches were placed in his path, before his arrest on Thursday and his crucifixion.
- Maundy Thursday: March 29. It is the Thursday before Easter. Christians remember it as the day of the Last Supper, when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and established the ceremony known as the Eucharist. The night of Maundy Thursday is the night on which Jesus was betrayed by Judas.
- Good Friday: March 30. Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday and Black Friday.
- Some sources suggest that the day is “good” in that it is holy. Many don’t eat meat during Good Friday.
- Holy Saturday: March 31. It is the day before Easter and the last day of Holy Week in which Christians prepare for Easter. It commemorates the day that Jesus’ body lay in the tomb.
- The first Easter service takes place on the night of Holy Saturday. The idea is for people to wait and watch confidently that Christ will return at midnight.
Why do we have Easter eggs?
- Today, many associate Easter with Easter eggs. The egg has many interpretations, but it is known as an ancient symbol of new life, and it has been associated with festivals celebrating spring.
- From a Christian perspective, it is believed Easter eggs represent Jesus’ resurrection. It is also thought that eggs are a symbol of new life.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS