Easter in 500 Words, Or Less
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By Michy Benavides and Cheyenne Yodong
The origin of Easter, annual holiday associated with the observance of the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus three days after his crucifixion, could be based on an ancient pagan celebration.
Easter is and continues to be a holiday celebrated and recognized by Christians, religious believers who see this event as essential to their faith. Yet as years have passed, more non-Christian aspects continue to attach themselves to the holy day like the Easter Bunny, the practice of hunting for eggs, and so on.
According to www.history.com, the Web site for the History Channel, is a belief that the name of this Christian holy day is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word, Eostre, a pagan goddess of spring and fertility. Yet, in Adrian Bott’s 2011 article published by the London-based newspaper, The Guardian, entitled “The Modern Myth of the Easter Bunny,” Bott argued that this is little to any concrete evidence that supports this idea. Instead, there is a growing consensus in the idea posited by Britannica.com that the word Easter came from the phrase “in albis,” a plural form of “alba” which means dawn, rooted in Christian belief and spelled out in the New Testament of the Bible. This is supported by the practice of sunrise Easter ceremonies, a hallmark of the holy day.
So, what about that sightings of that human-sized rabbit that hides eggs?
The Easter Bunny, according to History.com, was first introduced by a German immigrant who told tales of an egg-bearing hare, while the decorating of those eggs can be traced back to the 13th century.
In the United States, the first Easter Egg Hunt at the White House was hosted by First Lady Lucy Hayes, wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes, in 1878.
Although the Easter Bunny makes no appearance in the New Testament of the Bible, he (?) is still often associated with the holiday, on whatever day the holiday is celebrated.
Unlike Christmas, another major Christian holy day celebrated each year on December 25, the day that Easter falls on a calendar changes from year-to-year.
Easter is a “movable feast” that is generally celebrated on the “first Sunday following the full moon after the March equinox” depending on what calendar is used.
Since the year 325 and the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea, Easter, at times called the “Pascha” or “passover” must take place after the traditional Jewish Passover which began earlier this week.
In 2016, Easter fell on March 27 for Roman Catholics, Protestants and nondenominational Christians, while Greek and Russian Orthodox Christians was celebrated on May 1.
This year, Easter will occur this Sunday, April 16. And, unlike past years, the holy day will be celebrated on the same day by Roman Catholics, Protestants and nondenominational Christians as well as Greek and Russian Orthodox Catholics.