After the 40 day season of Lent that began on Ash Wednesday, this spiritual journey has led Christian religions throughout the world to Holy Week. It began on Palm Sunday and leads to Holy Thursday when Jesus Christ had the Last Supper with his disciples, leading to his crucifixion and death on Good Friday. Then on the third day, he was resurrected, leading to the celebration of Easter Sunday.
"For Christianity, it's the center point of history that God is reaching out to us and making himself known to us and reconciling to himself took place through Jesus. It was Jesus?? willing to die on the cross that showed his love and God's love for all of us. Then God raised Christ from the dead to give us the awareness and the reality of everlasting life," said Chris Cordes of Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Kirksville.
So how did Easter, which is a religious holiday, begin to change over to a family fun holiday that we know today and brought characters such as the cute Easter Bunny and the colorful Easter eggs? According to Father Cordes, it all has to do with the season of spring.
"In the early centuries of Christianity as it was growing and developing, some of the festivals celebrated the arrival of spring," Cordes said. "The egg is a symbol of resurrection to new life; that's where it came from. The bunny is a symbol of life; it's usually seen as a cuddly and appealing animal. Both of them have a part of spring and new life. Spring is the natural time of resurrection since everything in nature is coming to life again."
Now matter how or which way you celebrate Easter; we must always remember the true meaning behind it.
"The story of our faith, the reality of our faith is that, in living human life, it??s a mixture of joyful times and difficult times. But we do hope that sometimes in this life and in eternal life, all of the suffering and our calling is brought to vindication and a lasting joy and lasting peace," Cordes said.
The Easter season will go on until Pentecost, which commemorates the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, fifty days after Easter.
The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Easter or Pascha on Sunday April 15 due to going by the old Julian calendar.
For more information on Lent and the events leading up to Easter read our previous story: http://www.heartlandconnection.com/news/story.aspx?id=722687