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Let’s celebrate this glorious season

By Helen Taylor

POSTED: April 4, 2012 4:00 a.m.

I write this on the eve of what we Christians designate as "Holy Week," beginning with Palm Sunday and ending with Easter.

Other religious groups and even non-religious folks are aware, however, that this is the pre-Easter season; advertisers never let us forget it.

We fill Easter baskets, have egg hunts, plan dinners, buy new outfits, go on "Spring Breaks," and generally enjoy this beautiful season - even while trying to overlook the ubiquitous pollen.

Although Christians also indulge in all those activities, we really do place an emphasis on the events that cause this to be set aside as special.

We may not all observe the 40 days of Lent, but many commemorate the communion service established by "The Last (Lord's) Supper" and observe what is, ironically perhaps, called "Good Friday." Many denominations begin Easter Sunday with a Sunrise Service, most have some kind of special musical programs.

In fact, Christian churches usually have more worship services dedicated to Easter than to Christmas. And rightly so, your pastor will tell you: If it were not for Easter, Christmas would not be meaningful.

But don't be too critical of those who just celebrate and don't worship.

The fact is that the early Christians fit their Resurrection holidays (holy days) right into the pagan vernal (or springtime) festivals which were already established in many cultures, and into Judaism's Passover celebration, because that was the occasion of Jesus's death and resurrection.

We English even appropriated the names Lent/Lenten and Easter from the Old English (Anglo-Saxon) words lencten and eastron, both referring to the springtime season.

Perhaps Eastre, a Goddess of Dawn somewhere in their mythology, also figured into the naming of our Christian Easter. And to divorce that celebration from the Jewish Passover, the Christian Church (which, of course, at that time meant The Roman Catholic Church) established its celebration to be held on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox, tying it all to springtime.

I did all that research years ago from dictionaries and encyclopedias, before the advent of the Internet.

Now, with all our present resources, I should discover whether Easter is called by a different name in other languages, because I don't have the slightest idea.

But not today.

This week I will just be satisfied to observe Easter with gratitude and praise.

Helen Taylor's column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.

 

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