- Holidays and Celebrations
What Is A Christian Easter
Easter Is A Day Of Celebration And Can Be Celebrated In Many Different Ways
If Easter brings to mind colorful eggs hidden throughout the yard or big fluffy bunnies, then perhaps you really are not that familiar with what Easter truly means too many people.
For Christians it is a day of celebration and one that deeply marks their faith in their religion. Christian Easter is about far more than colorful Easter baskets filled with fake grass. It marks an important date and is celebrated in many different ways.
Though the eggs are definitely a part of the day in some areas of the world, it is the meaning behind Easter that has Christians celebrating.
If you are not familiar with Easter or just want to know more about this religious holiday, this lens can help.
It may answer some of the questions you may have about Easter and even be able to help you educate your children or others on the significance of this day.
The Importance Of Easter To Christians
Easter is a holiday celebrated by Christians, of course, marking the rise of Jesus Christ from the grave.
It is an important holiday and one that is celebrated by Christians around the world.
For Christians it symbolizes Christ's sacrifice to humanity through his death and the fact that through him redemption can be found. The Sunday of his rising is three days from when he was crucified for his beliefs and teachings about God.
It is a day where people rejoice that their savior has arisen and defeated death as he prophesied in his teachings to his disciples and all who would listen to him. For many it is concrete proof that only through Christ and his teachings can someone live again in Heaven.
When Is The Christian Easter Celebrated?
Christian Easter is celebrated three days after Good Friday.
Christian Easter is celebrated three days after Good Friday. It typically falls in April.
However in 2013 the date will be on the 31st of March. Easter is one of many religious days that come together consecutively.
It begins with Palm Sunday, goes through Good Friday (the day that Christ was hung from the cross and died) and ends with Easter.
During those times people will honor their faith through a variety of customs. Some will fast and attend church services through the week leading up to Easter. Others may only attend Mass or church on Easter Sunday itself.
Easter also takes place after Passover is completed. Passover is a Jewish holiday. You do need to know that Easter is movable holiday or feast. It varies depending on the calendar year.
Since the Gregorian and Julian calendars differ, you have to look each year to see when Easter falls. You do know that it is always the Sunday following Good Friday and it is always at the end of the Jewish holidays of Passover.
Why Do People Celebrate Christian Easter?
You may not know it but Christian Easter is the oldest Christian holiday celebrated.
People celebrate this day to honor their faith and their belief in Jesus Christ.
The Christian Bible teaches its followers that Jesus was the savior of mankind. It also marked the end of following the Old Testaments rules and practices and ushered in a new era of teachings.
These teachings set forth by Jesus dictated how Christians were to treat each other and themselves. Jesus also taught that only through his self-sacrifice of dying on the cross could mankind be saved and enters Heaven.
That is why on Easter Sunday people celebrate the fact that Christ defeated death and rose to show his followers that he truly was the Son of God.
How Do People Celebrate Christian Easter?
People celebrate Christian Easter in a variety of ways.
Some dress up and attend church services. Some hold huge family gatherings where everyone eats and catches up with one another.
Being from an Italian family and having strong religious beliefs it is very common for us to have people in the house from Good Friday right through until Easter Monday. Many of our friends and relatives also travel large distances to spend Easter with our family.
There really is no right and wrong way to celebrate the day. It is up to your own personal beliefs on how you celebrate it. One person may only attend religious services on certain holidays.
Another may attend regularly.
Some celebrate with colored eggs and chocolates. Easter is celebrated differently across the world.
What Kind Of Celebration Can I Have On Christian Easter?
Christian Easter can be celebrated in a wide variety of ways.
It really all comes down to what you believe and how you believe the day should be celebrated.
Most Christians attend special religious services to mark the ascension of Christ from his grave. Some gather together with family members to celebrate this special holiday.
Often parents of young children will hide colored eggs and leave behind Easter baskets of presents for their children to find. Then the children can go hunt Easter eggs.
How Have Hunting Eggs And The Easter Bunny Become Associated With Christian Easter?
Early Christian leaders faced a hard road when trying to convert people they considered pagans over to Christianity.
People who practiced any religion other than Christianity were considered pagans.
It was not limited to those who followed Druid celebrations or other pantheons of Gods and Goddesses. One way that Christian leaders managed to recruit more pagans was to adopt some of the pagan rituals and make them Christian holidays.
The egg was considered by pagans to be a symbol of rebirth. In fact the very name "Easter" comes to Christianity through the Saxons who worshiped the Goddess Eostre whose totem animal was the hare.
Christian leaders took on these symbols of rebirth and spring to help sway more pagans into becoming Christians. The tradition of hunting colored eggs and the Easter Bunny has thrived more in part to the commercial aspect of the Christian Easter than any real lingering religious meaning.
How Is Christian Easter Celebrated Around The World?
Different countries celebrate Christian Easter differently.
Some hold contests after their religious service has ended.
These contests can involve egg knocking or rolling eggs across a lawn. Some countries keep their church bells silent on the days leading up to Easter. And once Easter has arrived the bells begin to toll in celebration of Christ arising from the grave for mankind.
There are also different foods offered up on Easter that may not be served during the rest of the year. Probably one of the oddest customs found on Easter is the whipping of women in Slovakia and eastern Moravia.
The men take willow rods and gently spank their mates or women so that the women can keep beautiful and healthy throughout the year.
Most people are pretty familiar with North American Easter traditions, but aren't always aware of how the season is celebrated in other parts of the world. Even there, the traditions will vary to some degree depending on whether one interprets this festival as a celebration of the return of spring, or instead considers the Christian Easter message to be the primary focus of the season.
Still, there is a lot of overlap, especially in the use of the Easter egg symbol. It's the same way with traditions elsewhere in the world too; basic similarities with interesting variations.
Many countries, especially those with a large Catholic influence in the culture, celebrate Easter traditions that include what is known as a Passion Play. This is where the people of the local church, or sometimes all the people of the village or town, re-enact the arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, in full costume with appropriate props.
The town of Oberammergau in Germany is especially well known for this, with the play taking six hours and as many as 1200 villagers participating. The village of Fazenda in Brazil is another famous site of an Easter Passion Play. Both of these productions attract a lot of tourists, drawn for both spiritual and artistic reasons.
Congregations associated with the Greek Orthodox branch of the church use slightly different Easter traditions than those of the west.
For example, while they do use Easter eggs, those in this tradition are painted red, to symbolize the blood of Christ. In Eastern Europe, on the other hand, the eggs are lavishly decorated with complex designs. These churches and those of other Eastern European countries also celebrate the season at a slightly different time, since the dates of Easter are calculated differently in the western and eastern churches.
Some variations in Easter traditions stem from the fact that this is an autumn season in the southern hemisphere.
So the Australian celebration more closely resembles the American Thanksgiving than the American Easter, accompanied by agricultural harvest shows. And rather than using the Easter bunny symbol, since rabbits are quite destructive there, Australians use the bilby, which looks like a huge mouse with rabbit-like ears.
What is important in learning about all these different traditions is that the underlying sentiment and aspirations for this festival are the same, even if the surface details vary from place to place.
How Can I Teach My Kids More About The Christian Easter?
What you choose to teach your child about Christian Easter all depends on what you, yourself, believe.
If you are a devoted follower of the bible then you will want to teach your child about the life and death of Jesus Christ. But how much you teach your child all depends on how old your child is and how much he or she can comprehend.
You may want to start off slowly and teach your child about some of the deeds and stories Christ did and told to his followers. As your child gets older and can comprehend more, you can begin teaching him or her about how Christ died for mankind's sins and how he rose from the grave three days later.
What kind of gifts can I give my children and loved ones on Christian Easter?
The gifts you give for Christian Easter are just as diverse as the celebrations found across the world. You may give your child an Easter basket filled with candies, colored eggs and stuffed animals.
You could also give your child a bible to help him or her learn more about the life and death of Jesus Christ. The possibilities are endless.
There Are Many Types of Easter Crafts
There are all sorts of Easter crafts available to kids who would like to participate in the special meaning of the season but who also want to have lots of fun doing it.
Creating crafts are not just a great way to keep the kids occupied as the important day approaches, but they also provide the child with a hands-on learning experience about Easter. Despite the somber tone that is often struck by some of the Christian stories that lead up to Easter, in the end the dominant mood is celebratory.
And the association of this festival with the imminent return of spring is another element that adds brightness and color to it.
Children can engage in several different types of crafts at Easter. For example, you simply need to put a few Easter-related terms into a search engine, and immediately you will find many sites that offer free coloring pages that you can download and print off for the kids. These Easter coloring pages can range from relatively simple to complex, depending on the age of your children.
There are some sites that feature only pages with Easter bunnies, others that let children color pictures of daffodils or other spring flowers, and there are also pages featuring Easter religious scenes.
In addition to coloring, kids love crafts where they can make things. As well as creating little baskets, cards or decorations from raw materials, often they enjoy helping to bake special Easter treats. Whether it's making and decorating sugar cookies with mom, or helping to bake hot cross buns, children can really get into the spirit of things. Christian holidays often provide the chance for seasonal cooking with special meanings.
And of course, in many ways the most satisfying of the Easter crafts is the decorating of the special eggs, either for display or for an Easter morning egg hunt. You can buy kits containing safe dyes and perhaps a few decals or you can help the children create their own designs. They can make Christian symbol Easter eggs to mark the spiritual significance of the occasion, or follow patterns provided for them at craft websites.
They can even use glitter paint and stick-on jewels to create their own "Faberge eggs." Whether they want to color, create a new object, or decorate eggs, children have an almost infinite number of choices for doing crafts to celebrate Easter.
The are many different traditions and faiths around the world that celebrate Easter. We know we have covered them all so if you would like to add anything extra to this lens please do so below.