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What is Easter and Resurrection Sunday?

As we approach Easter and Resurrection Sunday, Christians and non-believers alike raise about this holiest church holiday. To understand why Christians celebrate Easter, we need to go back to its origin. Exploring beliefs held by early pagans and Christians can shed light on how – and why – Resurrection Sunday holds a special place in Christians’ hearts.

The origins of Easter


easter bunnyThe origins of the word Easter have been attributed to myths and legends. Particularly about a goddess known as Eastre (or Eostre) among the Saxons or Ostern (or Ostarâ) among the Germans. The myths suggest that the traditional celebration of springtime involved her as a symbol of fertility.

Many of us today celebrate Easter and the arrival of spring with candy-laden baskets and an imaginary bunny. It is a joyful celebration as a cultural holiday, even in the absence of any religious observances. For Christians, however, there is much more to the story of Easter.

Christian Easter or Resurrection Sunday


Easter or Resurrection Sunday is the most important church holiday and the oldest Christian holiday among observant Christians. Its significance is based on the foundational events involving the persecution, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many Christian churches prefer to call Easter “Resurrection Sunday” to focus on how Jesus tragically died to atone for our sins and was raised again to give us eternal life.


Many Christian traditions follow a season of Lent that leads up to Easter Sunday. During the Lenten season, we spend forty days in repentance, prayer, and fasting to empty ourselves of vices and worshiping worldly idols so the Holy Spirit can then fill us at Pentecost. The entirety of Easter spans fifty days from Holy Week to Pentecost.


Why do Christians celebrate Easter? 


Christians celebrate Easter to rejoice in the risen Christ. Holy Week walks us through the final days Jesus spent among us, leading to his death on the cross. (Mark 10:45John 10:18)


Easter is a time when we remember His sacrifice and are grateful to Him for taking away our sin and giving us eternal life.


Why is the resurrection important? 


Easter is not only symbolic for Christians; it is the basis of our faith. Christians believe that through his death and resurrection of Jesus, Jesus conquered death itself. Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our faith is futile. The Apostle Paul wrote about our faith in the church in Corinth, saying, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:17)


This is significant because of who Jesus said He is, the embodiment of God on earth. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus became our doorway to God and salvation.


Through Jesus, Christians can now speak directly to God in a relational way. We also trust that because He sacrificed Himself for our sins, we receive new life in Him. He kept his promises proclaimed in all of scripture; thus, we also believe in His promise to resurrect all Christians who follow Him in the final days.



Should Christians trivialize Easter with a cultural celebration when so much of our faith is sealed by Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross?


In light of mainstream culture’s commercialization of the Easter holiday, some Christians believe it’s wrong to participate in cultural events. The Bible does not mention the observance of Easter as Easter is itself the story about Jesus.


Cultural celebrations aside, the death and resurrection of Jesus are the reasons to celebrate. Scripture like Romans 14Colossians 2:16, and 1 Corinthians 10:23–33 are instructive in deciding whether we should celebrate Easter.


Those convinced that Easter is a holiday that honors pagan idols can always abstain from Easter observances. And those who feel called to celebrate also have the right to do so; however, if today’s cultural Easter traditions cause a Christian to go against biblical truth, they should not participate in those cultural traditions.


Easter traditions and Easter celebrations give us opportunities to praise God, and we should feel free to enjoy them fully and invite others to do the same. After all, at the heart of our celebration is joy in knowing that the risen Christ is alive, making it possible for us to have eternal life.


Easter is an opportunity to share our faith.


Even those who focus on cultural traditions like the Easter bunny, egg-filled baskets, and candy as part of their springtime celebration can recognize the holiday is related to Christianity. This awareness gives Christians an opening to explain who Jesus is, the importance of His death, and the good news of His resurrection. It is a terrific experience to share the renewal of the season and renew our souls through Jesus.


This beautiful renewal is a great reason to celebrate! Whether we call the holiday “Easter” or “Resurrection Sunday,” what is important is the reason for our celebration, which is that Christ is alive. He made it possible for us to have eternal life; according to scripture, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4)


As we invite more people to learn about Christ; it can be important to ask God for strength, guidance and encouragement through prayer. If you are would like us to pray with you or for you, please fill out our prayer request form. Our prayer team will lift you and your requests up in prayer.


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