Easter-Festival devoted to Jesus Christ-Easter History-Easter Legend-Easter Celebration

Easter is the day when Jesus Christ was crucified.Christians offer prayers and services in the churches.Easter is another important festival for Christians.On this day Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.Easter eggs and Easter bunnies are major attraction during Easter.It is a festival marking rejuvenation of life.In the days of the early Christian church,only Easter Sunday was celebrated as a holy day.By the forth century , each day of the week preceding Easter was established as holy day including Good Friday.
To most Christions, Good Friday is really a misnomer in that it was a 'bad' Friday-the crucifixion day of Jesus.Some believe the term 'Good' evolved from God or God's Friday.Others believe 'good' represents the good gift of salvation brought forth by the martyrdom.Above all , it is a holy day throughout the Christian world.Cereminial worship of the holiday follows closely to the events described in the scriptures.Some congregations still hold a three-hour service on friday,representing the three hours he hanged on the cross.A typical service includes seven distinct elements, representative of Christ's seven utterances while on the cross.Good Friday is a day of sincere reverence among Goan Catholics.It is the culmination of Lent is observed for 40 days from February to March , beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending on Good Friday followed by Easter Sunday.

Easter History

Easter is one of the most celebrated festivals of the modern Christian church. According to St.Bede, an English historian of the eighteenth century, Easter owes its origin to the old Teutonic mythology. The name Easter was originally derived from the word Eostre. Eostre was the ancient Greek goddess of spring. It was believed that every year, Eostre returned to Earth after a long, cold winter and brought along with her the light and warmth of Spring. Thus, ancient Greeks held pagan festivals to welcome Eostre and herald the onset of spring.
The Pagan festivals always coincided with the vernal Equinox on the 21st of March every year. Though the Greek were not fully cognizant of why and when spring comes, they believed Eostre must be pleased to ensure that she returns year after year. The festivals were lavish feasts that celebrated the booming of new flowers, the chirping of birds, butterflies, and sunshine and in general the feeling of rejuvenation that is inherent of spring.
The Christian church however, changed the Pagan festival from a celebration of spring to a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. In 325 A.D. the church also changed the date of the festival. The festival was no longer held on the spring equinox. Instead, as per the Church Council of Nicaea henceforth it was to be held on the very first Sunday following the full moon on or after the vernal equinox. Thus, today Easter is celebrated on different dates every year and can occur as early as March 22nd or as late as April 25th.
Some people even believe that Easter is related to the Hebrew celebration, the Jewish Passover. Passover is celebrated to mark the freedom of the Israelis from bondage and slavery after 300 years. It was during Passover in 30 A.D. that Christ was crucified for being blasphemous. The resurrection happened three days later on what is today known as Easter Sunday. The early Christians, many of whom were raised as Jews considered the resurrection and Easter as a new part of pascha. Thus the early celebration of Passover came to be celebrated as Good Friday and Easter.
Today grand scale events mark the celebration of Easter in the United States and across the globe. Many traditional symbols of Easter continue to dominate the scene while new traditions are being part of the festival too. Thus, Easter is a festival that denotes life, rejuvenation, renewal, rebirth and restoration of all beings on Earth. 

Easter Legend

The legend behind Easter originally known as 'God's Friday ', the present expression is believed to have emerged in the 10th or 11th century.According to Christion legend, Jesus Christ was from nazareth, a town in modern Israel.A well -loved and respected citizen, he was considered by many to be the son of Go.Some high officials and Jewish priests, however ,felt that he was  trying to usurp their authority and mislead the people .They hatched a plot against Christ with the help of Judas, one of his 12 apostles.On charges of misleading the people, of instigating them not to pay taxes to the emperor , and of claiming to be the messenger of God , they arrested Christ.The following day, he was prouduced before a council, comprising priests,teachers of law and elders, and questioned about the charges against him.
Finding him guilty on all counts, they presented him before the Roman Governor, who saw  no reason to condemn him.But the priests were adamant.They insisted that it was his teachings, which were responsible for all the riots in the city of Judea.At the same time, they pleaded for the release of one of their men, who had been imprisoned for the crime.The Governor appealed to them, reiterating that Chris had done no wrong.When the clergy did not agree , he handed Jesus Christ to them to do as they wished.The  crowd asked for his crucifixion. As he was led away by the soldiers, he was made to wear a crown o thorns and mockingly addressed as' King of the Jews' by the jeering crowd.A huge wooden cross was placed on his shoulders, and he carried it to the place assigned for his crucifixion.In a show of solidarity , a group of his followers marched in a procession behind him.Two criminals were also led to the same place to be put to death with Jesus.At the assigned place , the three men were nailed to the crosses and left to die.Before he breathed his last ,Jesus asked God,his father , to forgive those who were responsible for his death, as they were unaware of the magnitude of their sin.Jesus is believed to have died at 3 o'clock in the afternoon , three hours after being nailed to the cross.On Good Friday , a cross , symbolic of the one on which Jesus was crucified, is unveiled in many churches.It is believed that Jesus rose from his grave on the following Sunday, which is celebrated as Easter.The rituals for Good Friday begin on the preceding Thursday.A feast symbolising the last supper of Christ is held on Thuraday night.the end of this meal marks the beginning of thev fast for Easter.

Easter Celebration -  Goa

Hundreds of devout Catholics in Goa gather in the Panjim Church of Mary Immaculate Conception, to listen to mass and participate in the way of the Cross.During the afternoon sermon, the prists narrate the sufferings that Jesus Christ took upon himself for the sake of humanity.The mass is in Konkani, Gao's state language, attracts a crowd too large for the church itself, ad people stand in the dooeways and in the premises, dressed in formal clothes with some countenance.
After the mass, the crucifix, which until this time has been kept from view, is now uncovered before the crowd for veneration.A very sombre ceremony, the 'Way Of The Cross' is a re-enactmrnt of the path Jesus took on Mount Calvary before the Crucifixion.In Panjim, which draws the largest crowd, a large wooden cross-carried by an immage of Jesus is taken from the church, down the steps, and through the crowd follows in two and all with very solemn faces.Those not participating in the actual procession look on from the roadsides, both Hindus and Christians alike.Sombre music played by a band accompanying the procession, which slowly winds its way through the main streets in Panjim before returning to the church.The mass and procession occur in every church in Goa, but the one in Panjim draws the largest crowd.

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