2017-04-12 / Editorials

Happy Easter, Kaló Páscha

This year, Eastern Orthodox and Western Christians (Catholics and Protestants) can again celebrate Easter together on Sunday, April 16. Enjoy the synchronicity, as it will not occur again for many years.

Often the Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter several weeks after Western Christians, due to their use of the Julian calendar, and not the Gregorian calendar. They also have rules about celebrating Easter after Passover, not the case for Western Easter, which sometimes occurs before Passover.

It is probably no accident that we traditionally celebrate these things at the start of spring, when all life reawakens from the long darkness of winter. In the springtime, eggs start hatching with baby chicks, bunnies appear all over the countryside, and budding trees and colorful flowers begin to blossom.

Bonnets, hunting for painted eggs hidden by the Easter Bunny, chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies and chicks, the pageantry of the Easter Parade, a glorious festive mass, baskets full of jellybeans and more chocolates, hot cross buns, and lamb feasts – these are some of the signs of the season. While eggs and even hot cross buns figure in other ancient religious rites, so does lamb, which became a symbol of Christ, whom John the Baptist referred to as the Lamb of God, because he was sacrificed around the same time as lambs were sacrificed for the Passover rites. The name for Easter in many countries, “Pascha” and “Pascua” for example, is derived from Pesach, or Hebrew for Passover. This shows the early Christians were okay with reinterpreting older symbols, adding another dimension to older beliefs.

Another linguistic aspect is that there is currently debate going on as to the origin of the word “Easter.” Regardless of where certain customs and trappings come from, the tenets of faith are the most important aspect of any religion. Faith cannot be investigated and “proven” (or disproven) as other human endeavors and cultural artifacts can.

The customs mentioned above symbolize the Christian beliefs in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, who three days before Easter, on Good Friday, was crucified, making the ultimate sacrifice to redeem the souls of all who accept him as Savior, absolving them of their sins. As such, theologians assert Easter is the most important Christian holiday, and a cause for rejoicing.

Enjoy the holidays, have lots of fun with the children and a wonderful feast with the whole family. We hope everyone enjoys the coming nice weather, abundance and longer days. Happy Easter and happy spring everyone!

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