Easter Sunday is a very important celebration because it marks the resurrection of Jesus. Easter originated when the first Christian missionaries started to preach the gospel in Europe in an attempt to convert the German Anglo-Saxons to Christianity.
The four gospel books in the bible offers some insight on the emotional effect the first Easter had on Jesus’ followers including his crucifixion to his miraculous rising from death. There is detailed explanation on what took place and the location but none on the time or period it happened.
The first two decades of Easter celebrations could have been celebrated by those who were present during death and resurrection of Jesus nevertheless there is no record of the services of the early anniversaries (Collins 5). There is a belief that there wer persecution of most of the earlier Christians and hence the celebrations could have been conducted secretly. Those who could worship in a free manner were satisfied to live a life similar to that of Jesus, with constant memory of the events.
Easter Sunday does not have a fixed date and for a long period of time it was celebrated at diverse times on the basis of the end of winter or the Passover feast as celebrated by Jews. In 325 A.D. there was a meeting by church leaders, the council of Nicaea, meant to harmonize the celebration by Christians and the report was handed to Emperor Constantine.
Setting the date for Easter was difficult because some Christians celebrated it along with the Passover, which is dependent on the moon’s cycle, and a resolution was arrived at that it should continue. Thus, it turned to be a flexible festival since no specific weekend could be dedicated for Easter. The range of dates is March twenty-one to April twenty-five and hence known as the movable feast but Christians from the eastern orthodox a Julian calendar.
Christians observe a lent period, forty days of prayer and fasting, as they prepare for Easter with the last week being considered sacred. The preceding Sunday is named Palm Sunday in memory of Jesus entering Jerusalem just before his crucifixion, Thursday the last supper while Good Friday is a celebration of forgiveness of sins (Laderman and Leon 605).
In America, Easter Sunday also involve celebrations that are not religious with the most popular being the yearly Egg Roll on Monday that was started by James Madison and takes place at the White House’ south lawn. Initially, these celebrations took place in the capital grounds and eggs are most important in household Easter celebrations.
The use of eggs has its origin from Europe where springtime presents included decorated eggs and Americans made some modifications to it. Normally, hard-boiled eggs were colored and the adults would hide them in order for children to look for them in what was referred as Easter egg hunt (Laderman and Leon 605).
In Britain and Northern Europe, people used to celebrate after winter when there are long but cold days and the spring resulted to a relatively warm weather devoted to the spring gods. Some cultures celebrated the bringing of warm weather by the goddess Eostre which the missionaries converted to Easter since they could not end the pagan custom. It could simply be put that Easter was developed from one of the goddesses, Eostre, of Europe.
Collins, A. “Stories behind the traditions and songs of Easter.” Florida: Zondervan. 2009. Print.
Laderman, G. &Leon, L. “Religion and American Cultures: An Encyclopedia of Traditions, Diversity and Popular Expressions.” Michigan: ABC-CLIO. 2003. Print.
History of Easter Sunday