Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Meaning of Easter Sunday

So what is the true meaning of Easter?

The Easter which we observe today is a curious celebration of Christianity and new life.

The Bible makes no mention of a long-eared, short-tailed creature who delivers decorated eggs to well-behaved children on Easter Sunday, but the Easter bunny has become a prominent symbol of Christianity's most important holiday.

The exact origins of this mythical rabbit are unclear, but rabbits are known to be prolific procreators and have been an ancient symbol of fertility and new life.

According to some, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called "Osterhase" or "Oschter Haws." Yes, they thought rabbits laid eggs.

Their children made nests in which the egg-laying hare keep its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled rabbit's Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests.
Easter is a Christian holiday, but some of its customs, such as Easter eggs, are likely linked to other more pagan traditions. The egg, an ancient symbol of new life to anyone not a liberal, has been associated with pagan festivals celebrating spring.

From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus' emergence from the tomb and resurrection. Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century, according to some sources.

One explanation for this custom is that eggs were formerly a forbidden food during the Lenten season, so people would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting, then eat them on Easter as a celebration.

Easter egg hunts and egg rolling are two popular egg-related traditions.

In the U.S., the White House Easter Egg Roll, a race in which children push decorated, hard-boiled eggs across the White House lawn, is an annual event held the Monday after Easter.

The first official White House egg roll occurred in 1878, when Rutherford B. Hayes was president. The event has no religious significance, although some people have considered egg rolling symbolic of the stone blocking Jesus' tomb being rolled away, leading to his resurrection.

Trust me when I say, if that is true, we can only hope that liberals never hear about it because they will certainly want to end the tradition. I'm actually surprised that Planned Parenthood hasn't tried to destroy Easter Eggs just for what they symbolize.

As for Easter Candy? Easter is the second best-selling candy holiday in America, after Halloween.

Among the most popular sweet treats associated with this day are chocolate eggs, which date back to early 19th century Europe because eggs have long been associated with Easter as a symbol of new life and Jesus' resurrection.

Another egg-shaped candy, the jelly bean, became associated with Easter in the 1930s. And yes, according to the National Confectioners Association, over 16 billion jelly beans are made in the U.S. each year just for Easter.

That folks is enough jelly beans to fill a giant egg measuring 89 feet high and 60 feet wide.

My father-in-law will be glad to hear that for the past few decades, the top-selling non-chocolate Easter candy has been the marshmallow Peep - a sugary, pastel-colored confection.

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based candy manufacturer Just Born, which founded by Russian immigrant Sam Born back in 1923, began selling Peeps in the 1950s. The original Peeps were handmade, marshmallow-flavored yellow chicks, but other shapes and flavors were later introduced, including chocolate mousse bunnies. My father-in-law lives for the yellow ones!

In New York City, the annual Easter Parade is a tradition that dates back to the mid-1800s when the upper crust of New York society would attend Easter services at various Fifth Avenue churches then stroll outside afterward to show off their new spring outfits and hats.

Average citizens started showing up along Fifth Avenue to check out the action. The tradition reached its peak by the mid-20th century, and in 1948, the popular film Easter Parade was released, starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland and featuring the music of Irving Berlin.

The title song includes the lyrics: "In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it -You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade."

Today, the Easter Parade tradition lives on in Manhattan, with Fifth Avenue from 49th Street to 57th Street being shut down during the day to traffic.

Participants often sport elaborately decorated bonnets and hats. The event has no religious significance, but sources note that Easter processions have been a part of Christianity since its earliest days. It's nice to note that even though public schools are banning the word "Easter" from being used by children, that there are cities across America who are also holding their own Easter Parades.

In public schools today, while it is OK to live out Muslim holidays in dress and language, Christians symbolism is of any sort is being treated as bad as the Black Plague.

Take for example, Heritage Elementary School in Madison, Alabama, which has banned the word the "E" word, "Easter."

The kids there are absolutely forbidden from says the words "Easter Bunny" or even "Easter Eggs."

Why? Well, according to Lydia Davenport, the principal at the school says, it is because “people relate the Easter Bunny to religion”. 

Imagine this from a supposedly educated person, “people relate the Easter Bunny to religion”.

As I said earlier, there is no mention of an Easter Rabbit, Hare, or Bunny of any sort in the Holy Bible. And though I'm almost positive that there is no mention of an Easter Bunny or similar critter in the Koran, I'm sure if there was that Islam would killed the critter for some reason or another.

No, there was no Easter Bunny who healed the sick, no Easter Bunny walked on water, no Easter Bunny turning water into wine, no Easter Bunny was crucified on a cross for preaching peace.

Since kids cannot say the word "Easter", I assume that teachers and political correctness has gotten hold of almost every aspect of American life. And yes, as another writer asked, "what will students call Easter Island now? Will teachers take it upon themselves to rename Easter Island to Spring Island?

No, but it just show the stupidity of such things.

This is a copy of a letter sent out to parents regarding the use of the word "Easter" at Heritage Elementary School in Madison, Alabama. After getting pressure observe American traditions and heritage, you will notice that this school official gets the point. It's just a shame that it has to become an issue.

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope you are all enjoying spring break. Please allow me to infringe on your break for a moment to bring you up to speed on a topic that has garnered national attention.

The controversy centers around an Easter egg hunt for the second grade and kindergarten classes at Heritage Elementary School. The activity was planned but the principal stepped in and asked that the activity not occur because the activity carried the title Easter. As you know, we walk a fine line in public education working to stay within the guidelines of recent court decisions. After conversation, it was decided that the hunt was not in violation of any policies or procedures, and that it could proceed as planned. I am pleased to inform you that it took place last week before we dismissed for spring break.

At a previously planned elementary principals’ meeting last week, I informed the principals that in Madison City we would continue to have seasonal celebrations and activities such as Christmas gifts and Easter egg hunts. These traditions are a part of our rich heritage and I do not see them as infringing on ones’ religious rights. Additionally words such as Christmas and Easter are not banned at our schools.

In all the national media reports they fail to mention that the Easter egg hunt occurred last week and that all our elementary principals have been advised that seasonal activities are acceptable. Sorry to disturb your break but I wanted you to be informed.

Dee O. Fowler
Superintendent of Education
Madison City Schools

Now, as for Lydia Davenport, the principal of Heritage Elementary School, who said “people relate the Easter Bunny to religion” - allow me to inform you of a few things.

Nowhere is there any mention of the Easter Bunny in the Bible.

Easter is a Christian festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion at Calvary as described in the New Testament. Easter is the culmination of the Passion of Christ, preceded by Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.

The last week of Lent is called Holy Week, and it contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Holy Thursday, commemorating the Last Supper and its preceding foot washing, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus.

Easter in the Bible is mentioned in the biblical account of Jesus' death on the cross, or crucifixion, his burial and his resurrection, and his raising from the dead, can be found in the following passages of Scripture: Matthew 27:27-28:8; Mark 15:16-16:19; Luke 23:26-24:35; and John 19:16-20:30.

On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. It is typically the most well-attended Sunday service of the year for Christian churches.

We Christians believe, according to Scripture, that Jesus came back to life, or was raised from the dead, three days after his death on the cross.

As part of the Easter, the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion is commemorated on Good Friday, always the Friday just before Easter.

Easter is derived from the Hebrew word pesach for 'he passed over', so in Spanish and Italian Easter is Pascua, in French it is Paques, in Portugese it is Pascoa, and so on.

Since church proclamation in 325AD, Easter has been celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the Vernal Equinox. This date was determined by noting that the Last Supper, as Christians came to know it, was actually a Passover seder, and Jesus's resurrection occurred on that Sunday.

Passover occurs on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan on the first full moon on or after the Equinox.

A further connection to Passover, is the fact that it celebrates the angel of death passing over the houses where the doors were marked with the blood of a sacrificial lamb.

Jesus is seen by Christians as the sacrificial lamb whose blood was shed so that they would have everlasting life.

God has given Christians "a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead".

The true meaning of Easter? It is a day when Christians celebrate the miracle of God who "so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

The resurrection established Jesus as the powerful Son of God and is proof that God will judge the world in righteousness.

The New Testament teaches that the resurrection of Jesus, which Easter celebrates, is a foundation of the Christian faith.  Christians, through faith in the working of God are spiritually resurrected with Jesus so that they may walk in a new way of life.

Through his death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus paid the penalty for sin, thus purchasing for all who believe in him, eternal life in Christ Jesus.

But no, the Easter Bunny is never mentioned!

Story by Tom Correa

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