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Why Is Easter Celebrated?

Christianity is one of the largest religions in the world and is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who took birth on earth. Thus, his life, preaching, and crucification form an integral part of Christians even today. The resurrection is equally important. This entire cycle of death and resurrection is what is celebrated in Easter.

Most of us are aware that the festival of Christmas is in commemoration of the Birth of Jesus Christ. Tales of Christmas tree and that of Santa Claus make it all the way more famous. However, sadly enough we do not know much about Easter. So, read on to know about the day of Easter and the significance of why it is celebrated.

The Day Of Easter

After the Spring Equinox, the first Sunday that follows is when Easter is actually celebrated. Now, since the day of the Spring Equinox varies from one year to the other, the day of Easter does not remain constant as well.

As per the Holy Bible, the death and resurrection of the Lord happened at the time of the Jewish Passover. As the Jewish Passover fell on the first Sunday following the Spring Equinox, the same is taken as the day of Easter and people go ahead with celebration of this major festival.

This year, in the Gregorian calendar, the 1st of April is Easter. As per the Julian calendar, the same falls on the 8th of April.

The Significance Of Each Day Of The Celebration

• Palm Sunday

Contrary to popular believes, Easter does not begin on a Thursday. The Sunday prior to the Easter weekend is when it officially begins. This year, it was on the 25th of March. This particular Sunday is known as the Palm Sunday. The significance of celebrating the same lies in the fact that it is used to denote the day when Jesus Christ entered the holy city of Jerusalem. It is said that on this day, palm branches were placed on his path as he entered the holy city. Thus, this day has special significance in the Christian calendar.

• Maundy Thursday

This is celebrated on the Thursday that comes just before the Easter weekend. This year, it is on the 29th of March. It is used to commemorate the day of the Last Supper. It is on this day that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. In honor of the same, the ceremony of Eucharist came into being. This is a very somber occasion, as it was on the midnight of this Thursday that the Son of God was betrayed by his very own disciple Judas Iscariot. It is said that had he not been betrayed, history would have taken a different course and the crucifixion of the Lord would not have taken place.

• Good Friday

It is fair to say that this special day, which falls on the 30th of March for the year 2018 is the most important day in the entire Easter celebration. While there is a universal debate over the fact whether the day should be called as Good Friday or Holy Friday, no one can deny the significance of this day. In some areas of the globe, it is known by the names of Great Friday or Black Friday as well. The significance of this day is the fact that it is on this day that Jesus Christ was crucified and he died. It is a somber occasion and this day is rather observed instead of being celebrated. Most Christians observe this day by not eating meat or any alcoholic beverages on that particular night.

• Holy Saturday

It is the second last day of the entire week of Easter. This is a very sad day, as it commemorates the day when Jesus's body lay in his tomb. His physical presence from the earth is deeply missed on this day. Christians across the globe observe the day in all simplicity. The first Easter service takes place on the night of Holy Saturday. Most churches and cathedrals celebrate this day with a lot of pomp and gaiety. Devotes throng the same. This year, it falls on the 31st of March. The central idea behind such huge masses is for people to have faith in the fact that Jesus will come back to them and that they must wait and watch out for the same with due patience in the presence of all their kith and kin.

• Holy Sunday

This is the day when Jesus recurred from his tomb. This year, it falls on the 1st of April. This is the most important day of Easter and a number of traditions surround the same. Children are particularly excited about this particular day and look forward to the Easter bunnies and Easter eggs that are synonymous with that of Easter Sunday. These are spring fertility rituals and although there are no biological references of the same, the festival of Easter is deemed incomplete without the same. Another major significance of this day is the hope that it instills in all Christians that irrespective of whether the Lord is physically with us or not, his presence will always be felt and he will keep coming back to us whenever the situation so demands. It is the sheer positivity associated with this day that makes it so special.

• Easter Monday

Also known as Bright Monday or Renewal Monday, this day is one of the most optimistic ones in the Christian calendar. Processions and masses are carried out on this day. This day is used to signify the spirit of universal brotherhood and is based on Jesus Christ's principles of doing good deeds to others. This is one of the preliminary reasons why many Christians indulge in charity work on this day. As the last day of the festival of Easter, this Monday is used to signify a new start and a fresher outlook to life.

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Story first published: Sunday, April 1, 2018, 8:00 [IST]