Easter shares common theme

By on April 16, 2003

Today, the thought of Easter brings to mind a number of images: the Easter bunny, eggs decorated with bright colors and Easter baskets filled with chocolate candy. For weeks before the holiday, stores stock aisles of jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, pastel-colored Easter decorations and egg-dying kits.

Easter is often classified as a Christian holiday, but it actually began not only with the Judeo-Christian religions, but with Pagan customs as well.

In Christianity, the 46 days before Easter comprise Lent. This begins with Ash Wednesday. Lent is actually made up of only forty days, as the six Sundays before Easter are not generally included in Lenten fasting.

During Lent, there are a number of different holidays to commemorate the last days before Jesus’ crucifixion. The last week of Lent is called Holy Week and begins with Palm Sunday, which marks Jesus’ arrival into the city of Jerusalem. Palms are a part of this holy day because when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, the people laid palms at his feet. Maundy Thursday marks the Last Supper Jesus shared with his disciples. Good Friday commemorates the day Jesus was crucified and died on the cross.

Easter Sunday marks the day Jesus was resurrected, or rose from the dead, to prove that he has power over death, and his followers were then redeemed and saved from going to Hell.

Although Easter is not as commonly associated with Judaism, in the Jewish religion Passover is celebrated around the same time, and has a common theme to that of Easter (see Passover article on page 9). In both religions there is a blood sacrifice, and the faithful are spared from Hell.

Easter is deeply rooted in the Christian religion, but many common Easter traditions are derived from Pagan customs. These customs originate from a Spring festival for the goddess Eastre, the goddess of springtime and fertility. Many symbols we associate with Easter today were originally symbolic of fertility. Such symbols include Easter lilies, dyed eggs and rabbits.

The Easter Bunny as we know him today is said to have originated in Germany in the 1500’s. To the children, he was known as “the greatest pleasure” next to Santa Claus. Children believed that if they were well behaved, the Easter Bunny would lay colored eggs for them, so they built nests in preparation for his arrival.

Today, many families have their own Easter traditions. Often they integrate modern American Easter customs with those from their country of origin, as each country has its own unique Easter traditions.

Many Quinnipiac students plan to go home for Easter weekend. While some students are looking forward to spending some time with extended family and participating in the festivities, others are just anticipating being able to enjoy the comforts of home.

Freshman Lauren Franco, who hasn’t been home since Spring Break, plans to go to her Nana’s house to celebrate the holiday with her family.

“It’s tradition,” said Franco.

However, she is most excited to go home and see her puppy, Max.

“It’s his first Easter,” she said, “I’m going to make him wear bunny ears.”

Melissa Concepcion, also a freshman, plans to go home for Easter as well.

“Every year, we have a big Easter eggs hunt in my back yard,” says Concepcion. “All of my little cousins have fun trying to find the Easter eggs.”

Like many others, freshman Chris Ducey will enjoy being with his family on Easter. “Every year my entire family comes over and we have a big dinner together,” said Ducey.

This year, Easter falls on April 20. Easter is not on the same day each year, but it always falls on a Sunday, and it always falls after the Spring Equinox.

Quinnipiac will hold several Easter events, including an Easter egg hunt for local children, which is sponsored by CAP, and an arts and crafts project where students can create Easter baskets. Students can also attend worship services in the area.


About Emily Wakeman