Jesus was considered an illegal alien by the ruling authorities of his day.
His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday was an intentional demonstration of people power against the ruling authorities. By blessing and healing the people of Palestine, Jesus had built a popular movement that mimicked the pageantry of Rome to celebrate the revolutionary vision of God’s reign, which offered a real alternative to Caesar’s reign.
Thus Jesus rode into town on a humble donkey, not a warhorse. He drove the exploitative money changers out of the temple and celebrated Israel’s ancient vision that the “stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.”
We cannot forget the politics of Easter: Jesus was crucified as a criminal because the movement he started threatened the established order of his day, as maintained by the political and religious authorities.
Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 21. This year, that is April 4. Easter is a 2,000-year-old Christian holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus and marks the arrival of spring. For many, Easter is all about chocolate bunnies, dyed eggs and bouquets of daffodils and lilies, but the holiday is one of the most important observances for Christians world wide.
Easter is also significantly associated with the exodus of the Jews from Egypt as depicted in the Old Testament and the Jewish holiday of Passover.
According to Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the Great Lent, which begins 40 days before Easter on Clean Monday, marks the beginning of the Easter rituals. The 40 days, which do not include Sundays, is a time of repentance, fasting and commemoration of the biblical events leading up to the persecution, crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The last week is known as Holy Week and is concluded with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter.
Why is Easter Called Easter?
The christening of the holiday as “Easter” is believed to have originated from the name of a goddess in England, Eostre, who was celebrated at the beginning of spring, before Christ’s time.
Another theory suggests that the word originated from the German word for “East,” also meaning dawn.
By the Numbers
- 3 in 4 – the estimated number of Americans who identify as Christian.
- 50.8% – the percentage of Americans who plan to attend church on Easter Sunday each year.
- $16.4 billion – the estimated number of dollars spent on Easter in 2015.
- $140.62 – the estimated average number of dollars each American spends on Easter.
- 13th century – the period when eggs first started to be decorated for Easter.
- 32% – the percentage of chocolate lovers who buy extra chocolate on Easter.
- 89% – the percentage of consumers who eat the ears off chocolate bunnies first.
- 1.5 billion – the number of Peeps Marshmallow Chicks consumed around Easter.
The Germans again
Over time, many pagan celebrations have been merged with Easter to welcome the season of spring. These relatively modern traditions include the Easter bunny — a figure associated with spring, who brings colorful eggs symbolizing new life.
The origins of the concept of the Easter bunny have been disputed, but many agree that it started in Germany.
Source: NationalToday / The Guardian