Easter is one of the most important holidays in the Christian religion. On this day the faithful celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the son of God, who conquered death and saved humanity from sin.
Spring Query: its date is movable, it coincides with the first Full Moon after the Spring Equinox, it can be early or late depending on that, it was originally a Jewish Feast - which Celebration are we talking about?
Christian Easter, of course!
The Christian religious Feast, considered to be the most solemn, owes its origins to the Jewish agricultural festival linked to the harvest of the very first crops. Later, Passover, whose etymology derives from the Aramaic Pesach= Passage, celebrated the liberation of the Jewish people from the Egyptians. That is, the passage from the Red Sea to the Promised Land. Specifically, it refers to the story of Moses in Egypt. The Prophet was chosen by God to lead the Jewish people away from the tyranny of the Pharaoh. Passover celebrates the liberation of the Jews from the Egyptian yoke and, unlike Christian Easter, is celebrated on the Sabbath.
For the Christian religion, Easter also takes on the meaning of Passage, the passing over of the Messiah from Death to Life. And if in Aramaic the meaning is Passing Over, in Greek the same term means Suffering. Because at Easter the Passion of Christ is celebrated. The Christian Easter Tradition is, indeed,Christ-centric, Anthropocentric and Theocentric at the same time.
In order to understand this concept, it is essential to analyse some considerations made in the Bible and by the various Fathers of the Church. In Judaism, Passover can be defined as Theocentric and Anthropocentric.
Theocentric in that it commemorates God's Passover, his "Passing over" the houses of the Hebrews in Egypt by punishing, instead, the houses of the Egyptians. The episode narrated in Exodus refers to God's request to Moses. Through the Prophet, the Lord asks the Israelites to seek out a lamb, kill it and use its blood to sprinkle the doors of their houses. The God narrated in the Exodus "passes over" the Hebrew houses, "protects" them, punishing the houses of the Egyptians – indeed the firstborn sons of their families die.
The anthropocentric Easter interpretation sees in the Exodus of the Jews to Palestine, the man who passes and is saved.
But when did the Christian Easter originate? It came about after the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. The early Christian community, made up of its Disciples, felt the need to celebrate Easter no longer as a commemoration of the Exodus and the liberation of the Jewish people, but as a remembrance of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which they had witnessed.
The Rite of Easter takes on a Christ-centric connotation. But to arrive at a fusion of the three interpretations we have to wait for St Augustine. With him, Easter takes on the meaning of Passion and Passing. It is through the Passion of Jesus that the Passing takes place. On the day before Easter the Lord understood that the time had come to pass from this world to the Father. His Passing, however, must not be regarded as a solitary passage. Jesus died for our sins; in his Death and Resurrection, in fact, the passage from Death to Life is consecrated.
But in order to effect the definitive passage to God, Faith is indispensable. The Passion of Jesus and his Rebirth teach us to have Hope.