Happy Easter

April 19, 2019

Bunnies, eggs, candy, parades, lilies…many words come to mind with the mention of Easter, but, where did the word come from?

Some claim Easter derives from Eostre, a pagan goddess of spring and fertility. In one story version, Eostre found a bird dying from the cold and turned it into a rabbit so its fur would keep it warm – the rabbit still laid eggs like a bird. Another version states the rabbit paints and decorates eggs as a gift to Eostre to show his loyalty and love.

Dyeing Easter eggs has a religious connection as well. Mary Magdalene, the first person to see Jesus after the Resurrection was holding an egg in the presence of an emperor and proclaiming the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The emperor said that Jesus’ rising from the dead was as likely as that egg turning red and the egg turned bright red while he was still speaking.

In the 40 days leading up to Easter, known as Lent, Christians begin preparing for Easter by forgoing dietary items, such as meat and, at one time, eggs.

For many years, Easter was known in Western Europe as Egg Sunday. Eating eggs on Egg Sunday was part of its celebration. Those eggs were often presented in baskets lined with colored straw resembling a bird’s nest.

As for sweets, the tradition of chocolate began  in France and Germany in the 19th century. This tradition quickly spread through Europe and eventually to the United States – and why wouldn’t it, it is chocolate!

Lamb is another typical Easter food. If Jesus ate meat at the last supper, the Passover meal, it probably would have been lamb.

Another Easter favorite is ham. Before the modern convenience of refrigeration, salted pork would last through the winter months and be ready to eat in Spring before other fresh meats were available.

Easter does not occur on the same date every year. Easter is calculated based on the phases of the moon and the coming of spring and is not always celebrated universally by all Christians on the same date.

Western Christians, including the Roman Catholic church and Protestant denominations, calculate the date of Easter by using the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar is a more astronomically precise calendar that is used throughout the West today in both the secular and religious worlds.

Eastern Orthodox Christians, such as the Greek and Russian Orthodox Christians, continue to use the older Julian calendar to calculate the date of Easter. The Orthodox Church uses the exact same formula established by the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. for determining the date of Easter only with a different calendar. Because of the date differences on the Julian calendar, the Eastern Orthodox celebration of Easter always occurs after the Jewish celebration of Passover.

No matter how or when you celebrate Easter, everyone at Sustained Quality Group wishes you blessings of peace, joy and the company of ones you hold dear this weekend and throughout the year.