The need to talk about the origin of Easter came to mind due to the fact that it is very much around the corner.
And also because of our primary design to give value through the articles we write on this Nigerian blog.
It is true that Nigeria is officially a secular nation but the population is made up of many Christians who participate in the Easter festivities.
And there are others who are Christians but do not celebrate this holiday period because of the fact that Easter has more of a pagan than Christian origin.
I like learning and improving on existing knowledge and together, we shall be exploring this route and I believe that at the end of this journey, we would together learn something new.
Because it is a fact that I want many Nigerians to be aware of. I have decided to add the article to our general knowledge segment.
Now let us talk about Easter!
Easter is a festival and holiday celebrated by millions of people around the world who honor the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred three days after his crucifixion at Calvary.
Also known as resurrection Sunday, Easter is called Pascha in both Latin and Greek.
As a holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus , preceded by Lent (or Great Lent ), a 40-day period of fasting , prayer , and penance .
Easter is a ‘movable feast’ which is chosen to correspond with the first Sunday following the full moon after the March equinox and occurs on different dates around the world.
It should be noted that The resurrection event established Jesus as the Son of God.
And according to the New Testament, the resurrection of Jesus, which Easter celebrates, is one of the chief tenets of the Christian faith.
It should also be noted that there are more than just one origin of easter narrative. And this post is deliberately trying not to go beyond the Christian origin story.
The Easter festival is linked to the Passover and the Exodus from Egypt recorded in the Old Testament through the Last Supper, sufferings , and crucifixion of Jesus that preceded the resurrection.
The Jewish Christians, who were the first to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, timed the observance in relation to the Passover.
The Sunday before Easter is Palm Sunday , with the Wednesday before Easter being known as Spy Wednesday . The last three days before Easter are Maundy Thursday , Good Friday and Holy Saturday (sometimes referred to as Silent Saturday).
Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday respectively commemorate Jesus’ entry in Jerusalem.
The week beginning with Easter Sunday is called Easter Week or the Octave of Easter.
Despite the fact that Easter is a popular Christian holiday. There is no where in the Bible where instruction for its celebration or observance is permitted.
It is like the many other worldly festivals that has entered the church and made holy by tying Jesus Christ round their foundation.
And this is where the pagan origin of Easter comes in. But that is a topic for another post.
Currently Easter, has accumulated a great many traditions, some of which have little to do with the Christian celebration of the Resurrection but derive from folk customs.
Some early Christians known as the Quartodecimans chose to celebrate the resurrection of Christ on the same date as the Jewish Passover, which fell around day 14 of the month of Nisan, in March or April.
However in A.D. 325, the Emperor Constantine, who favored Christianity, would convene a meeting of Christian leaders to resolve important disputes at the Council of Nicaea.
This council would resolve that Easter be fixed on a Sunday, not on day 14 of Nisan. And so it began, that Easter would from that moment be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon of the vernal equinox.
I hope this little piece on the Christian origin of Easter was informative. Remember to visit again as we would be writing about the pagan origin as well.