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Easter
Terms and Informations

Easter 2013: sunday, 31.3.2013
Easter 2014: sunday, 20.4.2014
Easter 2015: sunday, 5.4.2015
Easter 2016: sunday, 27.3.2016
Easter 2017: sunday, 16.4.2017
Easter 2018: sunday, 1.4.2018

Easter is not a legal holiday in germany.
German Holidays 2014 | next holiday: Easter Monday


Easter Sunday

Easter belongs, in contrast to Christmas Eve for example, to the movable feasts because it is not falling on the same day every year. Since the council of Nicäa, which was held under authority of Emperor Konstantin in the year 325 a.D., Easter is being celebrated on that Sunday which follows the first full moon in spring. So this results in a time corridor between March 22 as earliest and April 25 as latest possible day.

From the beginning of February we notice that most of the stores and warehouses offer Easter Eggs, Easter Bunnies and all kind of decoration articles. This is the time we realize: Easter is getting closer. During holy week tension all around is slowly increasing and the kids are all on edge. Finally, Easter Sunday is coming up.

Beside Whitsun (or Pentecost, so called in other countries), the Easter feast is known as the oldest and together supreme celebration of the Christianity. It remembers the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his arbitrary execution by the Romans. Today we ask: What happened on that very day two thousand years ago?

After Jesus of Nazareth has died in Golgotha, connected to the Cross he was nailed on, roman governor Pontius Pilate allowed, in opposite to common practices in these times, the immediate collection and funeral of the crucified corpse. According to the legend, Jesus was enwrapped into burial shrouds of clean linen and buried inside a grave which has been quarried out of solid rock. A large stone was rolled against the entrance and finally a seal was set on it, assuming, that no human could develop enough power to get rid of this barricade and leave the tomb.

In addition, Pilate gave order to guard the entrance. Therefore two watchmen have been sent to keep an eye on that grave to prevent Jesus corpse from stealing and, more important of course, to avoid the formation of a legend. So the watchmen executed, what they have been commanded to, but they failed: Something greater happened.

Early in the morning, before sunrise, Maria Magdalene and Jacobs Mother Maria are going to the grave - they plan to embalm the body of Christ. When they still were considering how to pass the watchers and move the stone, suddenly the earth is rumbling. An Angel appears, let the guards freeze and moves the heavy stone away, just to prove what he is saying to the women: Jesus has been resurrected!

They rush back into town for spreading the news around and meet the redeemer on their way. The Apostles and his other followers cannot believe it at first, but later on Jesus Christ shows himself to them, too. Finally he is able to convince them that he has defeated the death. After this the Apostles start with carrying this happy message out into the world and it is due to them, that the knowledge about what had happened is still alive in our days.

On Easter Sunday the three day period of Holy Triduum, starting on Holy Thursday, is coming to an end - in addition, the Lenten season is over at the same time. The Catholic Church starts the ceremonies in the late evening of Holy Saturday with a light celebration. Fires will be sparked nearby the churches and a candle will be ignited on it during thank devotions. This is followed by a procession into the church, which is dark yet at this time.

After the threefold shout of the priest "Lumen Christ", which is Latin and means "Light of Christ", and after the convened church has answered with "Deo Gratias" (Thanks be to God) in the same way, the flame of the first candle will be shared with all believers and the inside of the church is going to be more and more illuminated.

Preceded by another prayer, the organ, which has remained silent since Maundy Thursday, awakes to new life and the church bells start ringing. The mass ends with the Hallelujah. Afterwards christening and subsequently the Eucharist, also known as Holy Communion, will take place.

By the way, the tradition of the big Easter Fires, which are being burnt in lots of towns and villages and which can be seen widely around in the countryside, are popular as a meeting point for many people, believers and non-believers, old and young, poor and rich. It is supposed that the fires have their roots back in 16th century and have been covered by the Christians. The original intention to spark them and make them as big as possible has even been the dispossessing of the winter, and the ashes were used by farmers to cover the seeds on their fields.

There is only one question remaining: What in the world has an Easter Bunny to do with Easter, and what is the purpose of the Egg?

One simple answer could be: Naturally it is a big fun for the kids to paint, search and eat them. But to go a little bit more in depth: This practice is very old and common around most Christians in the world. The origin itself is not bequeathed, but a context with the resurrection is assumed regarding to the egg as a symbol for new life, which would make sense.

In contrast, Easter Bunnies together with the fashion of hiding and searching egg appeared at the end of 16th century for the first time ever. In Germany the bunny in association with Easter Eggs was almost unknown until about the year 1900, because up to this time a variety of miscellaneous animals like cranes or foxes shared into the business to bring egg to the children.

The opinions, how and when exactly the bunny-egg-connection was born, diverge considerably. Most likely seems to be the following interpretation: The adults, who initiated hiding of egg for children, wanted to give them a plausible explanation for their delivery. And what could be easier than naming small and fast animals for doing this job? And at last our little bunny took the lead and established itself as bringer of the Easter Eggs. Maybe it is that simple and after all, this tradition is a yummy one anyway!


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