At Easter, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Holy Week, as the week before Easter Sunday is called, starts on Palm Sunday. That day marks the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by a large crowd who spread branches of palm trees on his path and greeted him:
"Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" (Matthew 21:7-9)
Holy Thursday remembers the Last Supper at which Jesus blessed bread and wine and gave it to his disciples telling them that it was his body and his blood. Jesus also told his disciples that one of them would betray him, and later that night Jesus was betrayed by Judas.
Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion. First Jesus was taken to Pontius Pilate to be sentenced to death. Pilate did not want Jesus to be crucified, but he had no other chance. In order to demonstrate, however, that he was not to blame for Jesus' death, Pilate washed his hands in front of the people, which was the origin of the famous saying »I wash my hands of it«:
When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. "I am innocent of this man's blood," he said. "It is your responsibility!" (Matthew 27:24)
Easter Monday honours the resurrection. It is said that three days after being crucified, Jesus rose from the dead.
Whilst Easter is a major holiday of the Christian church, nonbelievers have something to celebrate as well: the return of spring. The name Easter actually derives from the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre in whose honour a spring festival was held in ancient times. Back then, hares and eggs were seen as symbols of new life–this is why today eggs and bunnies are popular Easter decorations. By the way, the European custom of egg rolling has made its way across the ocean and is now quite common in the USA, too. It has even become an Easter Monday tradition to do "egg rolling" on the lawn of the White House.
Changed: 10th Dec 2010 19:38