While it is hard to celebrate spring while the snow is falling down, we look forward to the Easter break as an opportunity to spend time visiting with family, enjoying the outdoors (because we demand it to be sunny!!!!!) or maybe going on a trip. While traditionally hailed as a Christian celebration, the history of the celebration may surprise you. We invite you to check out the information below, while we share stories of the Easter bunny and magic eggs at the library. If you have some time during the holiday break, check out the large Pysanka egg at Vegreville, AB (see below).
The following information has been provided by: http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/common/easter-sun
Many Christians celebrate Easter Sunday as the day of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, which is written in the New Testament of the Christian bible. According to the Gospel of John in the New Testament, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb where Jesus was buried and found it empty. An angel told her that Jesus had risen. Christians worldwide have celebrated Easter for centuries.
However, the roots of the Easter holiday’s traditions and activities can be traced back to pagan celebrations. The name Easter is believed to come from Eostara, the goddess of rebirth. In early times the Feast of Eostara celebrated earth’s resurrection and rebirth. Strict Puritans would have nothing to do with Easter – it was merely a human institution – in the past. Charles I, king of England, declared the day as scriptural as Sunday in 1647 but Parliament contradicted him in print and abolished it with other church festivals.
The Easter date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox. In 325CE the Council of Nicaea decided that the Easter date would be the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the March equinox. Easter is therefore delayed one week if the full moon is on Sunday, which lessens the likelihood of it falling on the same day as the Jewish Passover. Eastern Orthodox churches in many countries such as Greece still figure their Easter date based on the Julian calendar.
Easter eggs and the Easter Bunny are both fertility symbols, holdovers from the feast of Eostara. Other symbolic parallels include the pagan joy in the rising sun of spring, which coincides with Christians’ joy in the rising Son of God, and the lighting of candles in churches, which corresponds to the pagan bonfires. The symbol of the cross and images of Jesus Christ, through paintings or statues, are remembered on Easter Day.