Every year one of the most important holidays celebrated is Easter, at least to those observing the Christian faith. Christians and non-Christians alike celebrate it. So why is Easter celebrated and what makes it so important?
Those that don’t believe in the bible may still observe the holiday with Easter Egg hunts and family get-togethers. Those that believe in Christ and his gift on the cross might celebrate by going to Easter Sunday services as well as Good Friday services and other services churches offer over the weekend. But Easter is about more than the Easter Bunny and Easter Egg hunts. It’s about what happened on the cross.
Holy Week: The Lead Up to Easter
Before discussing what Easter is in more detail, you should know and understand what holy week is. Holy week occurs in Christianity and begins one week prior to Easter Sunday. It starts with Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday.
Palm Sunday is the celebration of Jesus arriving in Jerusalem. He was hailed as a King. He remained there for the week to celebrate the Jewish Passover. Following Palm Sunday Christian’s recognize Maundy Thursday. Which recognizes the big feast during Passover, also known as The Last Supper. Then we come to Good Friday. Good Friday was the day Christ was crucified on the cross. Some Christians also hold a Saturday night vigil during Holy Week. The next day is Easter Sunday.
I’m talking fondly of Easter and I really do love this holiday. I want to continue teaching my kids why Easter is celebrated and making new Easter traditions with them. But I also love all the festivities of Holy Week. Palm Sunday was really neat because our church would buy actual palm leaves and we would get to keep them. I’m now seeing my kids get to experience similar things and it’s cool.
Why Good Friday Is Celebrated
Good Friday is the celebration of Jesus’ crucifixion. This might seem odd to say celebration.
I love Easter Sunday but Good Friday is equally important to me. My mom taught me why Good Friday is celebrated from a young age. When I was little she would take us to Good Friday services for our home church and we would also go to Good Friday services for the Orthodox Church. You might be wondering how this is possible but it is. Most years the Orthodox Easter fell on a different weekend than Easter for everyone else. So I celebrated Good Friday and Easter twice every year.
Good Friday services were always a somber celebration. One left with more of a remembrance feel than anything in their heart. Remembering Christ’s horrific and sacrificial death on the cross is why Good Friday is celebrated.
When is Good Friday
If you are not familiar with Easter and it’s traditions you may be wondering when is Good Friday. It’s always the Friday before Easter Sunday. For 2019, Good Friday will be on Friday, April, 19.
Why is Easter Celebrated
The reason why Easter is celebrated is simple. Easter is the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Everyone is a sinner, no matter how hard we try to do good. So God became
Jesus lived without sin and in his early 30s began his ministry. He ministered throughout Israel for 3 years. At the end of this time, he knew his work was about to be complete. On Maundy Thursday, the last supper is celebrated. This was a meal Jesus shared with his disciples. He told them the bread and wine they shared that night were symbols of his body and blood and to remember him every time they ate it. Later that night Jesus was arrested.
After his trial and death, Christ was buried. On the third day, he rose from the dead. He walked among man again and then ascended into heaven and now sits next to God. Now when we need forgiveness all we have to do is ask. I know I have had to ask many times. I’m not perfect but will be made perfect someday at the completion of my life.
So the answer to why is Easter celebrated is this. To celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and the defeat of Hell.
Orthodox Easter 2019
Orthodox Easter and Easter for the other denominations generally fall on different days. Easter 2019 is on April 21. Orthodox Easter 2019 is on April 28th.
The Orthodox church follows a slightly different calendar for Easter due to the Jewish Passover commemorating the freeing of the slaves from Egyptian control. The Jewish Passover takes place every spring in the northern hemisphere.
During Jesus’ time, he celebrated the Passover with his disciples. The last supper took place during the Jewish Passover. It was during this time he was arrested and the events of Easter occurred.
Thus, the Orthodox Church doesn’t celebrate Easter until after the Jewish Passover. To bring unity to the denomination they now celebrate Easter the Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox. But it also must be after the Jewish Passover has occurred. The Jewish Passover 2019 will take place from Friday, April 19 through Saturday, April 27 with Orthodox Easter 2019 following on the 28th.
This was common when I was a kid. Sometimes the two Easter celebrations were up to a month apart. And we celebrated both. We would celebrate Easter as a family when everyone else did: Going to church, having family time, and other Easter traditions. Then when the Orthodox Easter occurred we would spend the weekend doing it all again. Only this time we were with the extended family on my mom’s side.
Whichever Easter weekend you celebrate, though, can be a great one and one of Easter traditions.
How is Easter Celebrated
Now that you know the answer to why is Easter celebrated you might be wondering how is Easter Celebrated. And the answer varies. Many people celebrate in a variety of ways. People who may not follow the Christian religion still may celebrate Easter as a family holiday with the Easter bunny visiting overnight and Easter Egg hunts.
Christians generally celebrate by attending a variety of services to remember the meaning of the holiday. Beginning with Maundy Thursday and culminating with Easter Sunday. Then it’s time to celebrate with family.
My family celebrates by doing a variety of things. We will attend Easter weekend services, sometimes Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Other times just Easter Sunday. Before we go to church generally the kids see if the Easter Bunny has found them. And then they go on the annual Egg hunt that silly bunny leaves every year in our backyard.
Following the egg hunt, we head off to church to celebrate the resurrection. After church, it’s onto a nice family dinner with my mom, brother
So however you celebrate you can keep the reason for the season and create some great family Easter traditions.
Starting Family Easter Traditions
Celebrating Easter as a family is very meaningful and a great way of starting family Easter traditions. These can range from a simple family dinner to a full day of festivities. Whether you believe in Jesus’ gift on the cross or not you can still plan a great day to celebrate with your family.
Here are a few ways to celebrate and start new Easter traditions
- Have an Easter Egg hunt
- Color Easter Eggs
- “Egg” houses for a Girl Scout project or family community service project.
- Go to an Easter church service
- Have a nice family dinner
- Make a special Easter dessert
- Celebrate with the Easter Bunny
- Use Resurrection Eggs to tell kids the Easter Story
- Play some Family Games
- Put up an Easter Tree and other decorations
For more information on each of these read about them here on my post about starting Easter traditions.
Growing up we had several family Easter traditions and I have fond memories of those times. Every Easter morning I remember getting up and seeing our Easter baskets in the living room filled with candy and a few toys. Then we’d have to hunt for the eggs the Easter bunny left. Followed by a celebration at church and back home for a nice Easter dinner.
The Importance of Why Easter is Celebrated
Easter’s important because it is the foundation of Christianity. It is the celebration of forgiveness by the death of Jesus on the cross. It is a great time to make new Easter traditions with your family. Family time is so important anyway. Combine it with the most important holiday of the year and it is one of the best family days ever spent.
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