It’s Easter! The time of the year when eggs are dyed and decorated. The day marks the anniversary of Jesus Christ’s resurrection and ascension to heaven and so is considered sacred Sunday by Christians. It arrives 3 days after Good Friday, which commemorates Christ’s crucifixion and death, which is a day of mourning.
Christians believe that Christ bore the punishment on behalf of the sinful human race and died. His death was a sacrifice but his resurrection represents salvation and renewal of faith. Prior to Easter, a 40-day lent period of abstinence, penance and spiritual discipline is observed.
To celebrate the festival, eggs are dyed but initially eggs were stained red in memory of the blood of Christ. The tradition was started by Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches. Eggs represents a symbol of birth and fertility, both have strong connection with the Easter story. While the egg shells represents the sealed Tomb of Christ, cracking the shells symbolises rebirth. Though the tradition is of decorating chicken eggs, but today they are replaced with chocolate and jellybeans.
It is also said that earlier during Lent period eggs along with meat, wine and milk were prohibited. Easter marks the end of Lent period and also the period when it could be eaten. Hence, they became celebrated at Easter.
Changing of date
Unlike other festivals Easter doesn’t have a fixed date. It comes usually between March 22 and April 25. It is celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon that comes after vernal equinox. In 2018, Easter is on April 1.
Celebration around the globe
Bermuda: People fly kites and feast on codfish cakes and hot cross buns.
Northwestern Europe: Large bonfires called Easter Fires is organised.
Sweden: Children dress themselves as Easter witches and go house to house to gift drawings to people and expect candies as return gift.