Easter, a celebration that I hold dear to my heart and soul.
The story of Easter makes up the fundamental aspect of Christian theology. While Good Friday marks Jesus’s crucifixion, Easter Sunday is a day for Christians to celebrate his resurrection. Following Jesus’s arrest and crucifixion on Mt. Olive, he was buried in a tomb. While the next part of the Gospel varies according to different religious bibles, most follow the theme of disciples of Jesus going to visit the tomb and finding the stone rolled away from the opening with Jesus’s body missing and only shrouds of his burial cloth left inside. Jesus went on to appear to his disciples several times before his ascension into heaven to take the seat at the right hand of the Father, Thus completing the Holy Trinity. The resurrection of Christ is an important part of Christian faith because of its association with salvation of all souls past and in the future.
Prior to A.D. 325, Easter was variously celebrated on different days of the week, including Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. In that year, the Council of Nicaea was convened by emperor Constantine. It issued the Easter Rule which states that Easter shall be celebrated on the first Sunday that occurs after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox, or first day of spring. Therefore, Easter must be celebrated on a Sunday between the dates of March 22 and April 25. Its date is tied to the lunar cycle.
Lent is the forty-six day period just prior to Easter Sunday. It begins on Ash Wednesday where many follow traditions of fasting that day and on every Friday during Lent. Through the years many of the Church's have changed there guidance on how to observe abstinence the message almost universally acknowledged to be a time of reflection, prayer and meditation in order to become closer to Jesus and walk in His path.
Many Christians begin the celebration with an Easter Vigil the night before, Holy Saturday. Church Mass or services on Sunday typically follow regular church service tradition with a sermon or songs concerning the Easter story. Some churches hold mass or other services at sunrise and refrain from afternoon times to allow families to gather together.
The Czech Republic has a few bizarre Easter traditions. One features the males of a family playfully tease females with a homemade whip decorated with ribbons during family gatherings. The tradition is lighthearted and is believed to bring health over the next year. The men may also dump cold water on them in some areas of these countries, probably not a good idea for most of the women I know. It is also a day for boys and men to pay visits to girlfriends or female acquaintances of their affection.