As many people may believe that Christmas is the most important day in the Christianity, but the most important when it comes to religion is Easter – because the Christians do believe in afterlife since the resurrection of Jesus. He was crucified on Friday and died on Sunday, which is three days later. Without the Resurrection of Christ, there won’t be religion or there would be no Christian Faith indeed. Christ’s Resurrection is the proof of His Divinity. That’s why, Easter is celebrating every year starting on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You barely find celebrating Easter on a same date as the previous year, because it has to start on Friday.
photo credit to kris_anja
How the Catholic Church celebrates Easter
Easter is not only the greatest Christian feast, but Easter Sunday symbolizes the fulfillment of Christianity. Through His Death, Christ itself destroyed our bondage to sin and throughout His Resurrection, He actually brought us the promise of new life, both on Earth and in Heaven. His own prayer, that says “Thy Kingdom come, on Earth as it is in Heaven,” starts to be fulfilled on Easter Sunday.
How is the Date of Easter Calculated?
In 325 AD, the Council of Nicaea set the date of Easter, just as the Sunday following the paschal full moon, which is actually the full moon that falls on or after the vernal equinox (spring). This means that Easter is always the first Sunday that comes after the first full moon that falls on or after March 21. It can occur as early as March 22 or as late as April 25, depending on when the paschal full moon occurs.
photo credit to tmarshall17
What Is the Easter Tradition (Customs)?
For Christians, we know now that Easter is a deeply religious holiday, in which they celebrate the day Jesus arose from the dead after his Crucifixion. It has also become a highly commercial event through the years, full of chocolate rabbits, decorated Easter baskets, and colorful eggs too. Also, of course, there’s the Easter Bunny, dropping off baskets in the middle of the night to delight children everywhere on Easter morning.
Dyeing Easter eggs have a deeper religious connection indeed. One tradition regarding Easter eggs is connected to Mary Magdalene, the first person who saw Jesus after the Resurrection. She was holding a plain egg then in the presence of an emperor and proclaiming the Resurrection of Jesus. The emperor said that Jesus’ rising from the dead was as likely as that egg turning red – and the egg turned bright red while he was still speaking. Additionally, for the 40 days leading up to Easter, which are known as Lent, believers begin preparing for the holiday by meditating, praying, and making personal sacrifices.
For many years in Western Europe, Easter was known as Egg Sunday, for eating eggs on that day. Those eggs were often presented in baskets that are lined with colored straw to resemble a bird’s nest.
How the Orthodox Church celebrates Easter
Millions of Orthodox Christians across the globe, including about 6 million in North America, observe Easter, that is also known as Pascha, each year. It is actually estimated that there are more than 250 million Orthodox Christians around the world..
Countries that officially celebrate the Orthodox Easter across the world are: Russia, Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Lebanon, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania, and Ukraine.
photo credit to tmarshall17
What Do Orthodox Christians Do And What Are Their Customs?
Many Orthodox Christians in Lebanon attend a church liturgy at Easter, even so if its on Sunday morning or maybe a midnight liturgy between the Holy Saturday and the Easter Sunday.
In Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro, many believers celebrate outside churches after midnight liturgy, thus by carrying candles to symbolize the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In that period, painted eggs are cracked or smashed as well and the person with the last remaining uncracked egg is believed that will have good luck. Also, richly-painted Orthodox churches are filled with clouds of incense and choir songs.
On the other hand, in Greece, Easter Sunday is a widely celebrated occasion. Tradition says that lambs are roasted on a spit and the provision of wine is abundant as well. Then, the roasted lamb is served in honor of Jesus Christ, who was sacrificed. Lamb is the most traditional Easter Greek food. Further, red-dyed eggs are also cracked against each other and similarly to their neighboring countries – the person with the last remaining uncracked egg it is believed that will have all the luck in the world.
In Russia, Holy Saturday is a day of strict fasting for Russian Christians while families stay busy making preparations for the Easter meal. The Lenten fast is broken after midnight mass with the traditional Paskha Easter bread cake.