Usually seen as a time of chocolate eggs, bunnies and Bank Holidays, Easter sees many families spending quality time together, exchanging chocolate eggs, enjoying a roast dinner and tucking into delicious hot cross buns. However, Easter started off a whole lot differently…
Easter, Pascha, or Resurrection Day, is the most important religious feast in the Christian year. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, which Christians believe occurred on the third day after his crucifixion, sometime in the period AD 27 to 33. Christians believe Jesus appeared to many people over a span of 40 days before his return to heaven (Ascension). The run up to Easter is important, as many Christians make sacrifices as part of the 40 days of Lent; a period of fasting and penitence, beginning this year on Ash Wednesday and ending yesterday, Maundy Thursday. Palm Sunday commemorates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem; Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, when Jesus identified the loaf of bread and cup of wine as symbolising his body (soon to be sacrificed) and his blood (soon to be shed); and Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion, when Jesus was forced to carry his own cross to Golgotha. This day is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday or Black Friday and many people eat hot cross buns today as the cross on the bun reminds them of the cross Jesus died on. Finally is Easter Sunday, the day Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead, as part of God’s plan of salvation and redemption.
Easter is a moveable religious festival (it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar). Each year, Easter falls at some point between late March and late April, following the cycle of the moon. This year, Palm Sunday fell on Sunday 20th March meaning Pentecost, or Whit Sunday, falls on Sunday 15th May.
As with many other Christian dates, the celebration of Easter extends beyond the church. Even many non-Christians celebrate aspects of the holiday whilst shunning the religious aspects. Egg rolling, egg tapping, pace egging and egg decorating are all games often played at Easter. Easter has become more commercially important over the last century, with the sale of greeting cards and confectionery.
For this Easter weekend, why not keep the children busy by getting them to make their own Easter cards for the family. Draw, paint or cut to create personal cards for all the family, it can cost less than buying cards and will be great fun for the children too. Alternatively, if we’re blessed with nice weather, why not turn your back garden into the Easter Bunny’s paradise and organise an Easter Egg hunt! Hide a selection of eggs in trees and bushes, around the children’s toys and even behind the shed, and then let everybody try to find them. After the excitement, reward everybody with some home-baked warm hot cross buns and a pot of tea.
Happy Easter, from everyone at Aspire!