Easter is an important Christian celebration that recalls the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The date of this celebration is mobile and its definition criteria were established by the Catholic Church in the 4th century A.D., during the Council of Nicaea. The religious authorities established that Easter would be celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon that follows the spring equinox (in the Northern Hemisphere).
Thus, the celebration period is between March 22 and April 25. The Christian Easter is a reinterpretation of a Jewish celebration in memory of the liberation of the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt, called “Pesach”, from the Hebrew language, which means “passage” in Portuguese and refers to the passage of the angel of death in Egypt (the tenth plague), according to the biblical narrative.
Importance of Easter – Easter is, for many Christians, the most important festival in the religious calendar, since it highlights an event of great importance within the Christian faith: the resurrection – understood in Christianity as a demonstration of the divinity of Jesus. This idea can be perceived in the Bible, since it records a line from Paul, who states (in I Corinthians 15:14): “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain “1|. Thus, we can identify the importance of Jesus’ resurrection within the religious vision of Christianity. From this point of view, it was through the resurrection that humanity had redemption from its sins. Jesus Christ, therefore, voluntarily sacrificed himself to redeem humanity and give it a new chance for salvation. Once the sacrifice was made, the power of God would have been manifested.
Holy Week – The liturgical calendar practiced by Catholics accompanies the approach of Easter with great devotion. The preparation for it is done during Lent – the 40-day period that precedes this celebration and when the faithful do some penance (the type of penance is chosen by each person). Another important mark of this preparation is Holy Week, a tradition that seeks to remember the steps of Jesus during his last week, through his crucifixion and resurrection. In the Catholic tradition, Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday and recalls the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem marks Palm Sunday, the moment that begins Holy Week. The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem marks Palm Sunday, the moment that begins Holy Week.
Holy Week also commemorates the Last Supper, on Holy Thursday. This was Jesus’ last supper with his disciples. It was held during the Jewish festival of Passover, in which Jesus announced that one of the disciples would betray him and that the others would flee from his persecution. On Holy Thursday, the Rite of Foot Washing is performed as a way of remembering Jesus’ act of bending down to wash the feet of his disciples in the place where they had their supper. The act is understood within Christian belief as a demonstration of an important commandment of Christ: to love one another.
Also on Holy Thursday, Jesus was arrested as a result of Judas Iscariot’s betrayal. The next day, Good Friday, he was tortured and sentenced to death. Christian tradition usually stages these events in plays known as the Passion of the Christ. After being condemned, Christ was crucified on a hill known as Golgotha. Also in Holy Week, the day after Christ’s crucifixion is known as Hallelujah Saturday, and the Sunday on which he was resurrected is Easter Sunday. Easter Traditions – The celebration of Easter in Christianity happens in different ways, due to the different Christian groups that exist: Orthodox Catholics and Protestants (and within Protestantism there is a range of different groups). In Brazil, the most popular tradition is the Catholic one. Thus, during Holy Week, the celebration is marked by masses and various reenactments of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ that are known as the Passion of Christ. The tradition of giving someone a gift of chocolate eggs has become very popular and one of the great symbols of modern Easter. This practice is associated with another great consolidated symbol of this celebration: the Easter bunny, as a representation of fertility, due to its high reproductive power.