Jesus was resurrected from the dead and his resurrection demonstrates that we can indeed be promised an eternal home in heaven by receiving Jesus as Our Saviour.
Easter is not about the Egg Hunt. Easter is not only a time to relax. But more than these, It is a time to celebrate the Triumphant of Jesus Christ from Death.
Watch Out for our Kids For Christ as they showcase their cuteness to everyone.
Depiction of The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, by Piero della Francesca.
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The Easter festival is kept in many different ways among Western Christians. The traditional, liturgical observation of Easter, as practised among Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and some Anglicans begins on the night of Holy Saturday with the Easter Vigil. This, the most important liturgy of the year, begins in total darkness with the blessing of the Easter fire, the lighting of the large Paschal candle (symbolic of the Risen Christ) and the chanting of the Exultet or Easter Proclamation attributed to Saint Ambrose of Milan.
Epistle reading, I Corinthians 5:7–8 (in Latin), for the Solemn Mass of Easter Day
After this service of light, a number of readings from the Old Testament are read. These tell the stories of creation, the sacrifice of Isaac, the crossing of the Red Sea, and the foretold coming of the Messiah. This part of the service climaxes with the singing of the Gloria and the Alleluia and the proclamation of the Gospel of the resurrection. At this time, the lights are brought up and the church bells are rung, according to local custom. A sermon may be preached after the gospel.
The focus then moves from the lectern to the font. Anciently, Easter was considered the ideal time for converts to receive baptism, and this practice continues within Roman Catholicism and the Anglican Communion. Whether there are baptisms at this point or not, it is traditional for the congregation to renew the vows of their baptismal faith. This act is often sealed by the sprinkling of the congregation with holy water from the font. The Catholic sacrament of Confirmation is also celebrated at the Vigil.
The Easter Vigil concludes with the celebration of the Eucharist (known in some traditions as Holy Communion). Certain variations in the Easter Vigil exist: Some churches read the Old Testament lessons before the procession of the Paschal candle, and then read the gospel immediately after the Exsultet.
Sunrise service in Rockland, Maine, United States
Some churches prefer to keep this vigil very early on the Sunday morning instead of the Saturday night to reflect the gospel account of the women coming to the tomb at dawn on the first day of the week. These services are known as the Sunrise service and often occur in outdoor setting such as the church cemetery, yard, or a nearby park.
The first recorded "Sunrise Service" took place in 1732 among the Single Brethren in the Moravian congregation at Herrnhut, Saxony, in what is now Germany. Following an all-night vigil they went before dawn to the town graveyard, God's Acre, on the hill above the town, to celebrate the Resurrection among the graves of the departed. This service was repeated the following year by the whole congregation and subsequently spread with the Moravian Missionaries around the world, including Old Salem in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Additional celebrations are usually offered on Easter Sunday itself. Typically these services follow the usual order of Sunday services in a congregation, but also typically incorporate more highly festive elements. The music of the service, in particular, often displays a highly festive tone; the incorporation of brass instruments (trumpets, etc.) to supplement a congregation's usual instrumentation is common. Often a congregation's worship space is decorated with special banners and flowers (such as Easter lilies).
Celtic cross draped for Easter at Bon Air Presbyterian Church, Virginia
In predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines, the morning of Easter (known in the national language as "Pasko ng Muling Pagkabuhay" or the Pasch of the Resurrection) is marked with joyous celebration, the first being the dawn "Salubong", wherein large statues of Jesus and Mary are brought together to meet, imagining the first reunion of Jesus and his mother Mary after Jesus' Resurrection. This is followed by the joyous Easter Mass.
In Polish culture, the Rezurekcja (Resurrection Procession) is the joyous Easter morning Mass at daybreak when church bells ring out and explosions resound to commemorate Christ rising from the dead. Before the Mass begins at dawn, a festive procession with the Blessed Sacrament carried beneath a canopy encircles the church. As church bells ring out, handbells are vigorously shaken by altar boys, the air is filled with incense and the faithful raise their voices heavenward in a triumphant rendering of age-old Easter hymns. After the Blessed Sacrament is carried around the church and Adoration is complete, the Easter Mass begins. Another Polish Easter tradition is Święconka, the blessing of Easter baskets by the parish priest on Holy Saturday. This custom is celebrated not only in Poland, but also in the United States by Polish-Americans.
Icon of the Resurrection by an unknown 17th-century Bulgarian artist
Easter is the fundamental and most important festival of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches:
This is the Expected and Holy Day,
the One among the Sabbaths,
the Sovereign and Lady of days,
Feast of feasts, Celebration of celebrations,
on which we praise Christ for all eternity!
Boris Kustodiev's Pascha Greetings (1912) shows traditional Russian khristosovanie (exchanging a triple kiss), with such foods as red eggs, kulich and paskha in the background.
Every other religious festival in their calendar, including Christmas, is secondary in importance to the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is reflected in rich Paschal customs in the cultures of countries that have traditionally had an Orthodox Christian majority. Eastern Catholics have similar emphasis in their calendars, and many of their liturgical customs are very similar.
This is not to say that Christmas and other elements of the Christian liturgical calendar are ignored. Instead, these events are all seen as necessary but preliminary to, and illuminated by, the full climax of the Resurrection, in which all that has come before reaches fulfillment and fruition. They shine only in the light of the Resurrection. Easter is the primary act that fulfills the purpose of Christ's ministry on earth—to defeat death by dying and to purify and exalt humanity by voluntarily assuming and overcoming human frailty. This is succinctly summarized by the Paschal troparion, sung repeatedly for forty days, through the Apodosis of Easter, which is the day before Ascension:
Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν,
θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας,
καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι
Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
Preparation for Easter begins with the season of Great Lent. In addition to fasting, almsgiving, and prayer, Orthodox Christians cut down on all entertainment and non-essential worldly activities, gradually eliminating them until Great and Holy Friday, the most austere day of the year. On the evening of Great and Holy Saturday, the Midnight Office commences an hour or two before midnight (see paschal vigil).
Religious Procession in Kursk Province, a controversial painting by Ilya Repin (1880–83), depicting a Bright Week outdoor procession.
At its completion all light in the church building is extinguished, and all wait in darkness and silence for the stroke of midnight. Then, a new flame is struck in the altar, or the priest lights his candle from the perpetual lamp kept burning there, and he then lights candles held by deacons or other assistants, who then go to light candles held by the congregation (this practice has its origin in the reception of the Holy Fire at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem). Then the priest and congregation go in a procession around the temple, holding lit candles, chanting:
By Thy Resurrection O Christ our savior, the angels in Heaven sing, enable us who are on Earth, to glorify thee in purity of heart.
This procession reenacts the journey of the Myrrhbearers to the Tomb of Jesus "very early in the morning". After circling around the temple once or three times, the procession halts in front of the closed doors. In the Greek practice the priest reads a selection from the Gospel Book. Then, in all traditions, the priest makes the sign of the cross with the censer in front of the closed doors (which represent the sealed tomb).
Traditional Paschal Outdoor Procession during Bright Week by Russian Orthodox Old-Rite Church.
He and the people chant the Paschal Troparion, and all of the bells and semantra are sounded. Then all re-enter the temple and paschal matins begins immediately, followed by the paschal hours and then the paschal divine liturgy. The Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom is read at matins.
After the dismissal of the liturgy, the priest may bless paschal eggs and baskets brought by the faithful containing those foods which have been forbidden during the Great Fast. Immediately after the Liturgy it is customary for the congregation to share a meal, essentially an agápē dinner (albeit at 2:00 am or later).
In Greece the traditional meal is mageiritsa, a hearty stew of chopped lamb liver and wild greens seasoned with egg-and-lemon sauce. Traditionally, easter eggs, hard-boiled eggs dyed bright red to symbolize the spilt Blood of Christ and the promise of eternal life, are cracked together to celebrate the opening of the Tomb of Christ.
The next morning, Easter Sunday proper, there is no Divine Liturgy, since the liturgy for that day has already been celebrated. Instead, in the afternoon "Agápē Vespers" is sung. In this service, it has become customary during the last few centuries for the priest and members of the congregation to read a portion of the Gospel of John in as many languages as they can manage, to show the universality of the Resurrection.
For the remainder of the week, known as "Bright Week", fasting (other than before holy communion is suppressed, and the customary Paschal greeting is: "Christ is risen!", to which the response is: "Truly he is risen!" This may also be done in many different languages. The services during Bright Week are nearly identical to those on Easter itself, except that they do not take place at midnight, but at their normal times during the day. The outdoor procession during Bright Week takes place either after paschal matins or the paschal divine liturgy.
Non-observing Christian groups
Nonconformist Protestant Christians prefer to use a simple Christian cross, rather than a crucifix, to emphasize the Resurrection.
Along with the celebration of Christmas and Advent, many Lenten and Easter traditions were altered or even abandoned altogether by various offshoots of the Protestant Reformation, as they were deemed "pagan" or "Popish" (and therefore tainted) by many of the Reformation's Puritan movements. However, some of the major Reformation Churches and movements (Lutheran, Methodist and Anglican for example), chose to retain a large proportion of the observances of the established Church Year along with many of its associated traditions. In Lutheran Churches, for example, not only were the days of Holy Week observed, but also Christmas, Easter and Pentecost were observed with three-day festivals (the day itself and the two following).
Other Protestant groups took a different attitude, with most Anabaptists, Quakers, Congregationalists and Presbyterian Puritans regarding such festivals as an abomination. The Puritan rejection of Easter traditions was (and is) based partly upon their interpretation of 2 Corinthians 6:14–16 and partly upon a more general belief that, if a religious practice or celebration is not actually written in the Christian Bible, then that practice/celebration must be a later development and cannot be considered an authentic part of Christian practice or belief—so at best simply unnecessary, at worst actually sinful.
Groups such as the Restored Church of God reject the celebration of Easter, seeing it as originating in a pagan spring festival taken over by the "Roman" Catholic Church.
Jehovah's Witnesses maintain a similar view, observing a yearly commemorative service of the Last Supper and the subsequent execution of Christ on the evening of Nisan 14 (as they calculate the dates derived from the lunar Hebrew Calendar). It is commonly referred to by many Witnesses as simply "The Memorial". Jehovah's Witnesses believe that such verses as Luke 22:19–20 and Cor| 11:26 constitute a commandment to remember the death of Christ though not the resurrection, and they do so on a yearly basis just as Passover is celebrated annually by the Jews.
Members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), as part of their historic testimony against times and seasons, do not celebrate or observe Easter or any other Christian holidays, believing instead that "every day is the Lord's day", and that elevation of one day above others suggests that it is acceptable to do un-Christian acts on other days. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Quakers were persecuted for this non-observance of Holy Days.
Some Christian groups feel that Easter is something to be regarded with great joy: not marking the day itself, but remembering and rejoicing in the event it commemorates—the miracle of Christ's resurrection. In this spirit, these Christians teach that each day and all Sabbaths should be kept holy, in Christ's teachings. Hebrew-Christian, Sacred Name, and Armstrong movement churches (such as the Living Church of God) usually reject Easter in favor of Nisan 14 observance and celebration of the Christian Passover. This is especially true of Christian groups that celebrate the New Moons or annual High Sabbaths in addition to seventh-day Sabbath. They support this textually with reference to the letter to the Colossians: "Let no one ... pass judgment on you in matters of food and drink or with regard to a festival or new moon or sabbath. These are shadows of things to come; the reality belongs to Christ." (Col. 2:16–17, NAB)
Easter celebrations around the world
Main article: Easter customs
An Easter postcard depicting the Easter Bunny.
Colors for the Easter eggs
In countries where Christianity is a state religion, or where the country has large Christian population, Easter is often a public holiday. As Easter is always a Sunday, many countries in the world also have Easter Monday as a public holiday. Some retail stores, shopping malls, and restaurants are closed on Easter Sunday. Good Friday, which occurs two days before Easter Sunday, is also a public holiday in many countries, as well as in 12 U.S. states. Even in states where Good Friday is not a holiday, many financial institutions, stock markets, and public schools are closed. Few banks that are normally open on regular Sundays are closed on Easter.
In the Nordic countries Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are public holidays, and Good Friday and Easter Monday are bank holidays. In Denmark, Iceland and Norway also Maundy Thursday is a public holiday. It is a holiday for most workers except some shopping malls which keep open for a half-day. Many businesses give their employees almost a week off, called Easter break. Schools are closed between Palm Sunday and Easter Monday. According to a 2014 poll, 6 of 10 Norwegians travel during Easter, often to a countryside cottage; 3 of 10 said their typical Easter included skiing.
In the Netherlands both Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are national holidays. Like first and second Christmas Day, they are both considered Sundays, which results in a first and a second Easter Sunday, after which the week continues to a Tuesday. Even though Good Friday is an official national holiday, it is not a mandatory day off for commercial companies.
In Commonwealth nations Easter Day is rarely a public holiday, as is the case for celebrations which fall on a Sunday. In the United Kingdom both Good Friday and Easter Monday are bank holidays. However, in Canada Easter Sunday is a public holiday, along with Easter Monday. In the Canadian province of Quebec, either Good Friday or Easter Monday are statutory holidays (although most companies give both). In some countries Good Friday is a public holiday as well.
In Australia, because of its location in the southern hemisphere, Easter takes place in autumn. Hence, Australian Easter is associated with harvest time, rather than with the coming of spring as in the northern hemisphere. The religious aspect of Easter remains the same. Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays across all states and territories. "Easter Saturday" (the Saturday before Easter Sunday) is a public holiday in every state except Tasmania and Western Australia, while Easter Sunday itself is a public holiday only in New South Wales. Easter Tuesday is additionally a conditional public holiday in Tasmania, varying between award, and was also a public holiday in Victoria until 1994.
Easter eggs are a popular cultural symbol of Easter.
In the United States, because Easter falls on a Sunday, which is already a non-working day for federal and state employees, it has not been designated as a federal or state holiday. Easter parades are held in many American cities, involving festive strolling processions, with the New York City parade being the best known.