Every year, the Christian faith celebrates a day that reminds them of the resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion. This event is called Easter, which is also the commemoration of a 40-day season of fasting, sacrifice, and deep prayer.
Before Easter was celebrated as a Christian holiday, it first started as a pagan way of honoring Eastre, the Saxon goddess of renewal and rebirth. The conversion of the Saxons to Christianity changed the core meaning of this celebration; now, Easter represents the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the son of God, from His death.
The 40-day season of fasting is called Lent, which starts with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter. During the Lenten season, Christians practice fasting, where they give up something they love the most like food, games, and material splurges so they can focus on what really matters. The 40 days of fast is also a representation of Jesus Christ’s fasting in the desert for 40 days. Christians believe that through fasting, they are stripping themselves to be closer to God. Christians and non-Christians who follow this holiday look forward to Easter, which marks the end of suffering and a new beginning.
Easter has been celebrated in various ways all over the world, but one tradition that is known and practiced in most countries is the breaking of the Easter Egg. This practice originated in Greek tradition, where the egg is believed to be an ancient symbol of new life, and in some cases, used in celebrating the coming of spring. Greeks dye their eggs red to represent the blood of Christ. The hard shell represents the tomb of Christ, while the breaking of the egg symbolizes the resurrection of Christ.
Because it is a symbol of Christ, his death, and resurrection, using the egg is forbidden during the Lenten season. The Greeks can only start to decorate their eggs and break them a few hours after the resurrection of Christ. Now, newer traditions will have Easter eggs that are decorated and, in some cases, even filled with candies or chocolate.
Other symbols have also evolved which made Easter as one of the widely celebrated secular and religious holidays in the world. One of the most prominent Easter symbols is the Easter Bunny, which was introduced by German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania in 1700. According to German tradition, there is an egg-laying hare or Osterhase that hides beautiful, decorated eggs that bring the blessing of a new life, new beginnings, or new gifts. Since these eggs also symbolize the goodness of Jesus Christ, only well-behaved children can find the eggs and enjoy the gifts they bring. Although there are many variations of the tradition, especially on what kind of animal lays the eggs, depending on the culture or belief of a country, the meaning of the tradition stays the same.
While there continue to be many beautiful practices and traditions centered around the celebration of Easter, the true meaning stays the same. Remembering the resurrection of Jesus is a way to renew our daily hope that there is victory over sin. Easter is the sunrise after the darkness of night. It is the celebration of the victory of Jesus Christ over His death. Consequently, it is also the victory after days of sacrifice and suffering during the Lenten season.
As we continue our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a positive message that continues to ring true. Whatever faith we may believe in, let Easter be the day where we are all reminded of God’s love; that even after a storm there is a light—a constant hope that we can look forward to.