Easter Symbols and Celebrations | world-symbols

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Pre-Christian Easter Origins:
Easter, a Christian festival, embodies many pre-Christian traditions. Easter is thought to originally have been named after "Eostre", the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe, she was the Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, to whom April was dedicated. Her name derives from "Eastre" which is the ancient word for spring.

Eostre's festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox; traditions associated with the festival survive with the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in colored Easter eggs, originally painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring.

Christian Origins of Easter:
The Christian festival of Easter probably embodies a number of religious traditions; most scholars emphasize the original relation of Easter to the Jewish festival of Passover, or "Pesach", from which is derived "Pasch", another name for Easter.

The early Christians, many of whom were of Jewish origin, were brought up in the Hebrew tradition and regarded Easter as a new feature of the Passover festival, a commemoration of the advent of the Messiah as foretold by the prophets.

The Current Christian Easter:
Easter is the annual festival commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the principal feast of the Christian year. It is celebrated on a Sunday on varying dates between March 22 and April 25 and is therefore called a movable feast.

Connected with the observance of Easter, is the 40-day penitential season of Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday and concluding at midnight on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday.

Source: Funk & Wagnalls® New Encyclopedia. © 2005 World Almanac


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