The Christian Meaning of Easter
The name “Easter” can be traced back to a particular European goddess who was celebrated before Christianity existed. Her name was Eostre, and she was the goddess of fertility and of spring. The story of the Easter bunny is known to have become popular during the 19th century in Europe because rabbits typically give birth to large litters of babies (called kittens) in the spring. Rabbits thus became a symbol of the new life that is commonly associated with the end of winter and the dawn of spring. Legend states that the Easter Bunny lays, decorates, and hides eggs, as they are also a symbol of new life. The Easter bunny is also said to leave a basket filled with colored eggs for children. Later in history, Christian art began regularly depict bunnies in association with rebirth and resurrection, like in the painting of the Madonna and the Rabbit.
Fun Facts About Easter
- Americans spend around $1.9 billion on Easter candy each year.
- 70% of all of the Easter candy purchased is some form of chocolate.
- 76% of Americans eat the ears of a chocolate bunny first.
- The very first story of the Easter Bunny hiding eggs in a garden was published in 1680.
- The Presidents of the United States and their families have celebrated “The White House Easter Egg Roll” since 1878.
The Christian Meaning of Easter
The Christian significance of Easter is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our lord and savior. After his crucifixion on the cross at Calvary, he was buried in a tomb that was covered by a boulder. After three days, the boulder was moved to expose an empty tomb. Mary Magdelene was the first to know of Jesus' resurrection. Jesus later appeared to Thomas and proved that he was real. This is what is celebrated by Christians on Easter. The real meaning of Easter is deeper than the commercialized meaning, which tends to be overrun by candy, treats, family, and food. However, dinner is also a part of the Christian meaning of Easter because it represents the lamb of God, which is why many people have lamb for Easter dinner. Easter dinner is a tradition that can easily represent a meal of atonement and forgiveness.
Ash Wednesday and Lent
Lent is a time of spiritual preparation for Easter. Lent begins the day after Ash Wednesday, which is a day of prayer and repentance observed by placing repentance ashes on believers' foreheads to either the words "Repent, and believe in the Gospel" or the dictum "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." Fasting is also common. The next day is the first day of Lent, which is a time to give up an indulgence for six weeks until Easter.
Popular Things to Give Up for Lent
The final week of Lent is known as Holy Week. During Holy Week, Christians attend special services that help them to reflect on the events leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus.
- Palm Sunday represents the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. It is celebrated by many cultures around the world.
- Holy Monday is all about studying—specifically the first half of the book of Matthew during the third hour, the second half during the sixth hour, and the first half of the book of Mark during the ninth hour.
- Holy Tuesday is observed by remembering Jesus having visions of his own death.
- Holy Wednesday, or Spy Wednesday, is observed by remembering the story of Judas arranging his betrayal of Jesus with the chief priests.
- Maundy Thursday memorializes the last supper.
- Good Friday this marks Jesus' crucifixion.
- Holy Saturday is also known as Black Saturday because it is the day after the crucifixion and before the resurrection.
This holiday marks the birth of something new from the old. It is a new beginning, but it is also a day of remembrance. This is the day that Jesus was resurrected and raised from the dead. This is a day of church services. Catholic church services begin Saturday night and continue through Sunday morning, which is known as Easter Vigil. Christian services occur when the sun rises. This is because it is known that it was sunrise when Mary Magdeline went to Jesus' tomb to find that the boulder was moved away and the tomb was empty.
As more time passes, there are more Easter traditions that are adopted into cultures that observe this holiday. As mentioned earlier, the Easter Bunny is one of the earliest Easter traditions. Easter eggs are laid, painted, and hid by the Easter Bunny who also makes a special Easter basket for children. Easter candy is usually placed inside of the Easter basket along with small toys and treats.
Easter Dinner is the most sacred because it is the end of the holy week and also the end of Lent. The Easter dinner represents the atonement and forgiveness along with what was overcome.
Popular Easter Dinner Foods
- Easter bread
- Babka wielkanocna
- Lamb or ham
Music for the Occasion
A Delicious Easter Recipe
- How to Make DIY Chocolate Easter Eggs
Why buy chocolate Easter eggs from the store when you can make your own amazing treats at home? When you have control over the Easter eggs that you make, they're much more special! Here's how to do it.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Cristale Adams