Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Sunday

"I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong." ~ Bertrand Russell

I received this in an e-mail:

Easter is a time of springtime festivals. In Christian countries Easter is celebrated as the religious holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the son of God. But the celebrations of Easter have many customs and legends that are pagan in origin and have nothing to do with Christianity Scholars, accepting the derivation proposed by the 8th-century English scholar St. Bede, believe the name Easter is thought to come from the Scandinavian "Ostra" and the Teutonic "Ostern" or "Eastre," both Goddesses of mythology signifying spring and fertility whose festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox

Traditions associated with the festival survive in the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in colored easter eggs, originally painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring, and used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as gifts.

The Christian celebration of Easter embodies a number of converging traditions with emphasis on the relation of Easter to the Jewish festival of Passover, or Pesach, from which is derived Pasch, another name used by Europeans for Easter. Passover is an important feast in the Jewish calendar which is celebrated for 8 days and commemorates the flight and freedom of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt

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.

Easter is observed by the churches of the West on the first Sunday following the full moon that occurs on or following the spring equinox (March 2I). So Easter became a "movable" feast which can occur as early as March 22 or as late as April 25

Christian churches in the East which were closer to the birthplace of the new religion and in which old traditions were strong, observe Easter according to the date of the Passover festival

Easter is at the end of the Lenten season, which covers a forty-six-day period that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter. The Lenten season itself comprises forty days, as the six Sundays in Lent are not actually a part of Lent. Sundays are considered a commemoration of Easter Sunday and have always been excluded from the Lenten fast. The Lenten season is a period of penitence in preparation for the highest festival of the church year, Easter

Holy Week, the last week of Lent, begins its with the observance of Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday takes its name from Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem where the crowds laid palms at his feet. Holy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, which was held the evening before the Crucifixion. Friday in Holy Week is the anniversary of the Crucifixion, the day that Christ was crucified and died on the cross

Holy week and the Lenten season end with Easter Sunday, the day of resurrection of Jesus Christ.


By the way, If you have any doubts that the people at Google are not Christians, just go to Google.com/images and type in the word, "Easter", and see how many pictures regarding the resurrection you find. And how deep you have to dig to find them.

I have often heard non-believers point to the origins of Easter to show that it started out as a pagan celebration. I'm not exactly sure I understand their point. Do they assume that, because it once was a pagan holiday, that it somehow invalidates the resurrection of Christ?

Christ was crucified during the Jewish celebration of Passover. He arose on the third day following his crucifixion. The entire event happened during a period of time once observed as a pagan tradition. The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is very likely the only event in the life of Jesus that is chronologically accurate. In other words, it is a fact that it happened during a pagan holiday event.

That is the fact. It is unimportant that pagans celebrate this time of year. To Christians, and most non-Christians, it is Easter.

Have a happy one.

11 comments:

Lone Ranger said...

In Hong Kong, part of a Communist country, Easter is a four-day holiday. No days off or holiday pay here in the good ol' USA.

Erudite Redneck said...

Even today, you have to find a reason to be disagreeable:

"By the way, If you have any doubts that the people at Google are not Christians, just go to Google.com/images and type in the word, "Easter", and see how many pictures regarding the resurrection you find. And how deep you have to dig to find them."

That says *nothing* about the faith, or lack of, of anyone at Google. You'd judge a fence post!

Peace, dude, Jesus got-r-done.

old soldier said...

And a Happy Easter to you, too, Mark. May God's blessings be upon you.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Happy Easter Sunday, Mark!

jgf said...

Happy Easter, Mark.

ELAshley said...

"...it is a fact that it happened during a pagan holiday event."

Hate to disagree with you Mark, but it is not a fact... it is supposition, and poorly argued at that.

The Jews were not pagan. Passover is not a pagan observance. The fact that other cultures celebrate the arrival of spring with symbols of fertility is not proof that the Resurrection occurred during a pagan holiday event.

It didn't.

It happened in God's perfect time; bunnies and eggs notwithstanding. and though I understand your intent in making the above statement, I feel you're trying too hard to rationalize what needs no rationalization.

God paid for our sins with His own blood... for everyone's sins. Even the bunny worshiper's.

I hope everyone's Easter was a bright and bless`ed one.

Gayle said...

Mark, I always wondered how the rabbit got in there, mixed up with eggs! After all, rabbits don't lay eggs.

Informative. Thanks!

Happy Easter. :)

Mary said...

Happy Easter, Mark!

Erudite Redneck said...

ELash:

Sheesh. Where's the fence post you're arguing with??

ELAshley said...

That "fence post" is anyone who wants to tell me Easter is a pagan holiday co-opted by Christianity.

And no, I don't think anyone here falls into that category.

Apologies for throwing dark clouds over Mark's Easter post.

Mike's America said...

I'm still eating my chocolate bunnies.

Belated Happy Easter Mark!