Celebrating the Easter Long Weekend!
The Easter weekend traditionally commences with Good Friday, and continues with Easter Sunday and Monday and the four-day long weekend is one of reflection and celebration with families getting together with feasting.
The week leading up to Easter is called The Holy Week, or “Passion Week”, and includes Palm Sunday (the day Jesus entered Jerusalem and was celebrated), Maundy Thursday (the “Last Supper” where Jesus met with his disciples to observe Passover), and Good Friday (a religious day in Christianity commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD).
From the early days of Christianity, Good Friday was observed as a day of sorrow, penance, and fasting.
A major controversy was triggered in early Christianity on the question of whether and when to observe Jesus’ death and Resurrection. The dispute, known as ‘The Paschal controversies’ was not resolved until the 8th century AD.
Until the 4th century AD, Jesus’ Last Supper, his Crucifixion death, and his Resurrection were observed in one single commemoration on the evening before Easter.
Since then, those three events have been observed separately with Easter, as the commemoration of Jesus’ Resurrection, being considered the pivotal event.
Most Christians attend church services on this day and reflect on the sacrifices Jesus made as a way to renew and rejuvenate themselves to lives their lives by his teachings.
Easter, as described in the New Testament, is essentially the day commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb on the third day after his crucifixion.
Easter Sunday is considered significant as it is considered to represent the triumph of life over death.
Easter follows a period of fasting called Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday which was on 17 February 2021 and ends on Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ crucifixion.
It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.
How did the rabbit become associated with Easter?
Eostre is the Germanic goddess of dawn who is celebrated during the Spring Equinox.
She is also associated with fertility, and feasts were held in her honour during the Spring, March or Vernal Equinox, marking the beginning of the spring season in the Northern Hemisphere.
Her symbol was the rabbit because of the animal’s high reproduction rate.
Spring also symbolized new life and rebirth and eggs were an ancient symbol of fertility.
The use of painted and decorated Easter eggs was first recorded in the 13th century.
The first Easter Bunny legend was documented in the 1500s.
Around 1680, the first story about a rabbit laying eggs and hiding them in a garden was published.
These legends were introduced to the United States in the 1700s, when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country, according to the Centre for Children’s Literature and Culture.
In Australia, families unite for Easter Sunday lunch or dinner and millions of children around Australia continue the traditions of easter-egg hunts at home, feasting on hot-cross buns and eating chocolate eggs.
In Sydney, the popular two week Royal Easter Show, takes place each year over the Easter Long weekend at Sydney Olympic Park showcasing Australia’s Agricultural best combined with many attractions including rides and show bags. Of course due to COVD-19, there are restrictions on attendances and online bookings are recommended.
Easter Monday is observed as a public holiday in many countries and is part of the Easter period.
It is observed by many Christian groups, but primarily by the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions.
Easter Monday marks the beginning of Easter Week (Roman Catholic) and Bright Week (Eastern Orthodox).
It has religious significance, because it is the day after Christians believe the messiah returned to earth.
According to the 2016 Census, Christianity is the dominant religion in Australia, with 12 million people, a staggering 86 per cent of Australians, identifying as Christians.
Keen to learn more reach or engage the Christian communities in Australia? Contact our team at [email protected]