Thursday, February 8, 2007
The Easter Season
Easter is not only a holiday but a season unto itself. To many religious people, it marks a time of miracles and a reaffirming of faith. To those with a more secular view of the world, it is a celebration of the end of winter, a time to look toward the warmth of the coming summer and a chance to shed the heavy, dour clothing of the winter for the bright colors of spring.

Easter traditions and symbols are well known: the Easter Bunny, Easter eggs and Easter baskets have become hallmarks of this spring festival. Yet there is more to them than meets the eye. Let us examine these and other Easter traditions and symbols and see just how our modern day version of the Easter holiday developed and from where.

Around the world, the onset of Spring is reason enough for people to get up to high jinks. Spring signifies the rebirth-a time when a bright and fresh world awakens, brimming with new life, bringing cheer to every face and a spring in every step.

Since the Resurrection of Jesus happened around the same time, you'll find that the traditions associated with Easter celebrations are remnants of earlier pagan spring festivals. In fact, the very name 'Easter' is said to be derived from the names of the ancient pagan goddesses of spring and fertility, whose festivals were celebrated with the coming of Spring. Traditions associated with these festivals survive in the Easter Rabbit or Easter Bunny, the colored Easter eggs and the Easter bonfires. But the Easter traditions start with Lent with the rest following:

The Lenten Season: 'Lent' is the 46-day period prior to Easter Sunday. It begins with 'Ash Wednesday', which is a day of fasting and prayer and repentance continued throughout the period of Lent.

Fat Tuesday: The somewhat austere observances of Lent led to the creation of 'Fat Tuesday' (Shrove Tuesday), the day before Ash Wednesday. It is on this day, that Carnivals are taken out to make the best of all kinds of celebrations before Lent begins. The most famous one is the Mardi Gras in New Orleans. 'Fat' in Fat Tuesday refers to the ox that traditionally led the procession on Shrove Tuesday in France.

Holy Week: This is the week immediately preceding Easter Sunday and observances and rituals of this week lead to the culmination of Lent in the celebration of Easter Sunday.

It begins with 'Palm Sunday' and commemorates the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem with crowds placing palms at his feet. Palms are blessed and distributed during church services on Palm Sunday.

This is followed by 'Holy Thursday' which commemorates the Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples and where he revealed that he would be betrayed to the Romans who would put him to death. This meal is usually referred to as the 'Last Supper'.

Holy Thursday is followed by 'Good Friday' when Christians commemorate the suffering, crucifixion and death of Jesus. Good Friday is sometimes commemorated by taking out a procession that re-enacts the 14 steps or stations of Jesus' journey from his condemnation to the laying of his body in the tomb.

Passion Plays: In many countries, the dramatization of the story of Jesus' suffering and death dominate Holy Week activities and is a popular tradition of almost all parishes.

Easter Sunday: The Sunday that follows Good Friday brings Christians out in the joyous celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. This is Easter. They commemorate this with church services and feasting, and once more churches will ring out 'Alleluia' !

Wishing You Joys And Blessings of Easter!
Wish your friends/ family/ loved ones a very Happy Easter with this beautiful ecard.

Send this eCard !

Egg-Makeover Game !
Make this Easter a special one for your friends/ siblings/ cousins/ dear ones with this cool Easter game.

Send this eCard !


AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Dave Richards at Thursday, February 08, 2007 ¤ Permalink ¤