A funny thing about the United States is because of our diversity, there are always two ways to celebrate holidays: religiously or secularly. In terms of religion, Easter is a Christian holiday widely celebrated in the United States. Although we have no official religion, (just like we have no official language) Christianity is the most common of beliefs held among Americans. Keep in mind that Easter is now one of those holidays where you don’t need to be Christian to celebrate.
Before we get to all that though, we have to understand why Easter exists.
According to the New Testament (the sacred texts that Christianity follows), Jesus Christ had the Last Supper where he and all his apostles dined together. It was there that Christ anticipated a betrayal from one of them.
Jesus was indeed betrayed by his disciple Judas after the Last Supper (which is why Judas is understood to mean a traitor in the English language). Judas identified Jesus to the religious authority of the time with a famous kiss. (That’s where the phrase “A Judas Kiss” comes from. It means when someone does something that seems to be kind, but really isn’t.) The Jewish High Priests considered Jesus a criminal because of his new teachings and the fact that he was undermining their authority. He was seen as a threat. Once they found Jesus, they brought him to a Roman authority. He was executed by crucifixion on a Friday. It is said that his body was then laid in a tomb, and within three days, he resurrected that very Sunday. As a result, Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday.
Easter celebrates his resurrection, or the coming back to life of Jesus. Easter changes every year in accordance with the Gregorian calender. There’s a lot of symbolism in returning to life- springtime is when everything comes back to life after a cold winter. Many linguistic, artistic, and historical cultural aspects of the United States associate springtime, Easter, and resurrection with each other.
But that’s a topic on its own.
Keep an eye out for Easter Part 2 and Easter Part 3, where we’ll learn about how Easter is celebrated and what exactly it has to do with bunnies, eggs, chocolate and outdoor games. We’ll also get into other cool facts about the holiday.
Cool Fact: I was actually born on Easter!