Tell your kids: What is Easter about?

What is being celebrated with Good Friday? Easter Sunday? We give you 5 talking points…

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1. Easter is now regarded as a Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from his crucifixion (and with it, his “redemption” of humanity). But “Easter” was never used in the original Scriptures, nor is it ever associated biblically with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Really proper Christians prefer to use the term “Resurrection Sunday”.

2. The week leading up to Easter is known as Holy Week, with Good Friday commemorating the crucifixion of Christ. Good Friday is traditionally a day of fasting and penance. Easter’s date fluctuates every year and there have been many controversies as some believe that the date of Easter is determined haphazardly by bishops or the Pope. It usually falls between the end of March and the end of April.

3. The First Council of Nicaea, a gathering of bishops during early Christianity, determined that Easter would fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon of the spring equinox, also known as the Paschal full moon: Basically, the time or date at which the sun crosses the celestial equator, when day and night is of equal length. This year’s took place on the 20th of March.

4. The Easter bunny reportedly was introduced to America by the German immigrants who brought over their stories of an egg-laying hare (plus, we all know bunnies know loads about multiplication. Thus, fertility.

5. The decoration of eggs is believed to date back to at least the 13th century, and eggs are an ancient symbol of new life and spring in pagan beliefs. From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb.

6. A little known fact is that in certain churches, Catholics are routinely informed that they cannot marry during the season of Lent, a period of penitence and occasionally fasting that covers Easter, because the penitential and preparatory nature of the month renders it inappropriate for a joyous wedding. In some churches however, it is permitted but you are faced with the challenge of looking for a priest willing to perform a nuptial mass during Holy Week. This is difficult as Holy Week is one of the busiest weeks of the year in the church.

Photo: ING Image