I know for most of you, Easter is probably at the top of your ‘most awesome holidays ever’ list. For those of us, however, who aren’t exactly big fans of chocolate, the holiday holds a different kind of significance. So just like with St. Patrick’s Day, I am going to tell you all a little tale of what the Easter weekend used to mean to people, before the baskets of chocolate and packets of peeps.
Once Upon A Time, before bunnies laid chocolate eggs and children scavenged through their households to find them, there was an event which changed the lives of Christians forever: the resurrection of Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior.
This monumental occasion was celebrated in a grand manner, long before the notion of ‘Easter’ reached their ears. It was not until they came across the pagan tribes and observed their celebratory rituals for the coming of Spring, did the Christians first become aware that an Easter celebration existed.
As is their tradition, the Christians made it their mission to convert those tribes to their beliefs, while still allowing them to celebrate in their desired manner. In other words, the celebration did not change, but from that time on it was recognized as a Christian Holiday. Prior to this celebration, the Christians themselves took part in a great celebratory feast known as Mardi Gras, where they would feast until they could fesat no more, and celebrate until they were completely and utterly spent.
Once that day passed, they would spend over a month fasting and repenting during a 40 day period known as Lent. During this time, they are able to experience at least some of what Jesus Christ did when he fasted in the wilderness for 40 days and refused all temptations that came his way.
Finally, we come to the 4 days which make up what we recognize to be the Easter weekend, starting with Good Friday. This day is meant to commemorate the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the day where he gave up his life for the sins of the people. This theme is at the heart of the Easter celebration, symbolized by the egg which hatches to give birth to a new life, and the arrival of Spring as a time of renewal.
And thus ends the tale of Easter as it was, and begins the new tale of Easter as it is; a time for chocolate bunnies and a boom in the number of parents purchasing little baby chicks as pets for their children.
This is only one version of Easter’s history. Just like most historical celebrations, it is difficult to say how much of it is actually true, and how much was simply deduced based on limited evidence and the conclusions drawn from it. It is, indeed, a religious celebration, and there are still some who celebrate it by attending church services. For the most part, though, it has become largely a commercial holiday, just like Christmas or Halloween. I must confess that I enjoy being able to treat my self to a delicious pack of peeps whenever Easter rolls around.
That’s all for today. If you have any Easter stories you would like to share, either about the history of Easter or how you celebrate it in your hometown, feel free to share them in the comments. Until next time, have a Happy Easter, and as always, happy reading!