What is Easter?

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The Etymology Of Easter

Let’s begin with the etymology of the word “Easter.”  The word derives from Germany, and it is related to Ostern and east, or maybe Eastre, which is the name of a goddess associated with spring.  But the origin of the word is not always a reflection of what it actually is. In Christianity, Easter is a religious holiday.  Let’s move from the etymology of the word to why and when Christians celebrate Easter.

What Is Passover? 

Easter coincides with the Jewish holiday of Passover.  The Passover happened when the Jewish People were freed from Egyptian slavery thousands of years ago. They were instructed to sacrifice a lamb and put it’s blood on the doorframes of their houses.

When Jesus was sent through the Virgin Mary, he first taught the Jewish people how to have a heart towards God and accept Jesus as their personal savior. Because the Jewish People were looking for a king to reestablish their earthly kingdom, Jesus was rejected by the religious leaders, who plotted to kill him.  Jesus revealed to them that the kingdom was spiritual and could not be physically observed.  

The Jewish people celebrate the Passover every year, and the Passover symbolically represents the way Jesus, as a sacrificial Passover lamb, sets us free from the slavery of sin. 

The Story Of Easter

It was a custom for the Roman government to release a Jewish prisoner at Passover.  During the time of Passover, Jesus had been arrested on charges of claiming to be the son of God.  The Jewish mob demanded that the ruling authority release a real criminal and kill Jesus.  That is the first half of the story of Easter, but it doesn’t end here.  

On the third day, Jesus arose from the grave. His resurrection testifies to the eternal life offered to those who believe in Him. Every year that is the day we celebrate Easter or Resurrection Sunday.  Resurrection Sunday occurs the Sunday after the Passover which is celebrated on the previous Friday. Christians call that Friday “Good Friday” because that is the day that Jesus Christ died for our sins.

When is Easter? And When is Passover.

Neither Easter nor the Passover occurs at the same time every year.  They both occur after the first full moon after the spring equinox. The equinox is when the sun is exactly above the equator, and day and night are of equal length. The Passover is on the Friday after, and Easter is on Sunday.  The moon is full every 29.5 days.  Easter and the Passover are celebrated generally between March 22 and April 25.  

Resurrection Sunday

Resurrection Sunday is probably a better title since the title Easter is derived from spring and the god of fertility which is of pagan origin and existed long before the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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