Observations on Easter

Observations on Easter
By ManuBu (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
By ManuBu (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

While I was christened an Anglican, my family wasn’t deeply religious so I don’t know much about Easter (and don’t see it as significant).  But I do know that for a lot of people it’s a significant event so I wasn’t entirely sure whether I should write a post or stay silent.  But I thought I’d do a little research and share a bit more about it for other’s who don’t know.  I’ll try to keep it short.

At its core Easter commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus (Good Friday) followed by his resurrection after three days (Resurrection Sunday).  He is believed to have died taking the punishment of the sins of the world upon himself, and his resurrection is taken as proof of his divinity.  These events are core events in the Christian doctrine.

While Muslims acknowledge the significance of Jesus and his religious message, scholars still debate the circumstances of his death – they do not believe that he was raised to god’s right hand alive in his actual physical body the way that Christians do.

The celebratory dates are set in accordance with the moon cycles as part of a solar calendar, generally but not always aligning with the spring (vernal) equinox.  The season is significant in other traditions as well including:

  • Jewish Passover, commemorating their liberation from slavery in Egypt
  • Buddhist celebration of the Buddha’s birth
  • Hindu festival of Holi celebrating the trials of Prahlad (son of the demon king) in search of the divine (Lord Vishnu)
  • Wiccan celebration of fertility, new life and renewal
  • Zoroastrianism new year
  • Mithraic resurrection of the sun god (Mithras)
  • Cybelic resurrection of the goddess’ consort Attis
  • Mayan return of the Sun Serpent

So something for almost everyone at this time of year.  Regardless of what and how you celebrate, I hope it’s a safe and happy time for you.

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