FROM WIKIPEDIA COMMONS
Easter, also called Pascha (Aramaic, Greek, Latin) or Resurrection Sunday, is a Christian festival and cultural holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent (or Great Lent), a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.
Easter-observing Christians commonly refer to the week before Easter as Holy Week, which in Western Christianity begins on Palm Sunday (marking the entrance of Jesus in Jerusalem), includes Spy Wednesday (on which the betrayal of Jesus is mourned), and contains the days of the Easter Triduum including Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Maundy and Last Supper, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. In Eastern Christianity, the same days and events are commemorated with the names of days all starting with “Holy” or “Holy and Great;” and Easter itself might be called “Great and Holy Pascha”, “Easter Sunday,” “Pascha” or “Sunday of Pascha.” In Western Christianity, Eastertide, or the Easter Season, begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending with the coming of the 50th day, Pentecost Sunday. In Eastern Christianity, the Paschal season ends with Pentecost as well, but the leave-taking of the Great Feast of Pascha is on the 39th day, the day before the Feast of the Ascension.
Easter and its related holidays are moveable feasts, not falling on a fixed date; its date is computed based on a lunisolar calendar (solar year plus Moon phase) similar to the Hebrew calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established only two rules, namely independence from the Hebrew calendar and worldwide uniformity. No details for the computation were specified; these were worked out in practice, a process that took centuries and generated a number of controversies. It has come to be the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or soonest after 21 March. Even if calculated on the basis of the more accurate Gregorian calendar, the date of that full moon sometimes differs from that of the astronomical first full moon after the March equinox.
The English term is derrived from the Saxon spring festival Ēostre; Easter is also linked to the Jewish Passover by its name (Hebrew: פֶּסַח pesach, Aramaic: פָּסחָא pascha are the basis of the term Pascha), by its origin (according to the synoptic Gospels, both the crucifixion and the resurrection took place during the Passover) and by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In most European languages the feast is called by the words for passover in those languages; and in the older English versions of the Bible the term Easter was the term used to translate Passover. Easter customs vary across the Christian world, and include sunrise services, midnight vigils, exclamations and exchanges of Paschal greetings, clipping the church (England), decoration and the communal breaking of Easter eggs (a symbol of the empty tomb). The Easter lily, a symbol of the resurrection in Western Christianity, traditionally decorates the chancel area of churches on this day and for the rest of Eastertide. Additional customs that have become associated with Easter and are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians include Easter parades, communal dancing (Eastern Europe), the Easter Bunny and egg hunting. There are also traditional Easter foods that vary by region and culture.
Easter in the western Christian church can occur as early as March 22 and as late as April 25. It is observed on the Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon (a fixed spring date set by the church). This Christian holy day celebrates the resurrection of Christ after his Crucifixion and was probably the earliest of the church’s annual festivals. Folk customs attached to the festival date from pre-Christian times. Eggs, traditionally forbidden during Lent, symbolize new life. The Easter Bunny recalls the hare, the Egyptian symbol of fertility. Easter may have derived its name from the Saxon goddess Eostre, whose feast was celebrated each spring at about this time. Or it may have derived from the word oster, meaning “rising.” Learn more about Easter.
Question of the Day
Can you tell me the origin and the history of the phrase: “The best laid plans of mice and men?”It is a line from the poem “To a Mouse,” by Robert Burns, the 18th century Scottish poet. The full quote, however, is the two-line stanza: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft a-gley.” (A free translation of the second line could be: Often go awry or become unraveled.)
Advice of the Day
To keep a dog at home, clip a bit of its coat and place it under the doormat.
Home Hint of the Day
If you decide to heat with coal rather than wood, buy anthracite coal, which is sprayed with oil to keep down the dust and allow the burn to start more easily.
Word of the Day
TwilightThe interval of time following sunset and preceding sunrise, during which the sky is partially illuminated. The three ranges of twilight are: civil (from sunset/sunrise to when the Sun is 6° below the horizon) nautical (greater than 6° and ending at 12°) astronomical (greater than 12° and ending at 18°—full darkness).
Puzzle of the Day
What is smarter than a hummingbird?A spelling bee.
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