iBerkshires.com Columnist SectionSue Bush
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Easter 2020: April 1208:35AM / Sunday, April 08, 2007
The Easter holiday may be the holiest for most Christians. For Christians, Easter Sunday is the observance of the Resurrection of Christ. Those of the Catholic faith spend the preceding 46 days honoring Lent, which is formally begun with a ash-smudged foreheads witnessed on Ash Wednesday.
|Easter eggs actually predate the Christian Easter holiday. [Photo by Sue Bush]|
The name "easter" comes from the name of a pagan festival that began before Christian celebrations of the Resurrection. The festival was known as the "Festival of Eastre" and celebrated the return of the spring season and the beginning of new crops and new life.
The "Easter bunny" is not a result of the commercialization of the holiday. The goddess Eastre, honored by the festival bearing her name, was adored by those who believed in her via an earthly representation, the rabbit. Most historians agree that the American version of the Easter bunny traveled to this country as a beloved legend of immigrating Germans. And in America, Easter was not a celebrated in many areas until after Civil war concluded.
The goddess "Eastre" was celebrated through a pagan festival that commemorated spring.[Photo by Sue Bush]
Easter eggs also have roots that long precede the Christian Easter celebration. Eggs represented the spring season and the Egyptians and the Persians exchanged eggs dyed in springtime colors to honor a belief that life on the planet hatched from an egg. During long-ago days of Christianity, certain Christians dyed eggs red to symbolize the Resurrection of Christ. In England, during the 1800s, the eggs seemed to mimic Valentine's Day symbols, as the English would write messages and calendar dates on the eggs and exchange them with friends and loved ones.
Carl Faberge used precious metals and jewels to adorn "eggs," and costly Faberge eggs have been sought after for many years.
The cross is a symbol used by Protestant and Catholic followers and as a symbol of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, has deep significance for Christians. "Hot cross buns" symbolize Easter, and lambs are also associated with Christian observances of Easter.
The date of Easter is a not consistent but does have a precise time frame. Calculations of Easter celebration dates are different among Western and Eastern Christian religions. Western Christianity celebrates Easter between March 22 and April 25.
Easter lillies were scientifically manipulated to bloom at Easter time. [Photo courtesy of the Rev. Mark D. Roberts, www.markdroberts.com
Easter Sunday 2008-2020
Easter Sunday dates from 2008 to 2020 are:
2008: March 23
2009: April 12
2010: April 4
2011: April 24
2012: April 8
2013: March 31
2014: April 20
2015: April 5
2016: March 27
2017: April 16
2018: April 1
2019: April 21
2020: April 12
"Easter bonnets" remain part of the Easter tradition of "dressing up", especially for young girls as modeled by Aleigha Bush in 2006. [Photo by Sue Bush]
"Easter bonnets" became popular during the 1930s, when elaborate women's hats were the fashion. The trend gained popularity after composer Irving Berlin wrote "Easter Parade" in 1933. The song had lyrics which referenced "in your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it...".
The Easter Lily has a fairly interesting history. The Japanese blossom came to this country via Bermuda and originally did not bloom in springtime. Horticulturists interfered with the blooming sequence of the bulbs and managed to "persuade" the lily to bloom at the same time as the Easter holiday. Numerous Christians appreciate the flower at Easter because they believe long slender flower represents the angel Gabriel's horn.
And the song "Blow, Gabriel, Blow", which has nothing to do with Easter, was written by famed songwriter and composer Cole Porter, who once lived in Williamstown with his wife Linda.
Additional Easter history, lore, and tradition may be found at a www.sunniebunniezz.com/holiday/easter.htm Internet web site or a http://wilstar.com/holidays/easter.htm Internet web site.