2THE HISTORY OF EASTEREarly Christians observed Easter on the same day as Passover (14-15 Nisan, a date governed by a lunar calendar). In the 2nd century, the Christian celebration was transferred to the Sunday following the Nisan, if that day fell on a weekday. According to the Venerable Bede, the name Easter is derived from the pagan spring festival of the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre, and many folk customs associated with Easter - for example: Easter eggs, are of pagan origin.The Christian festival of Easter celebrates the resurrection (the return to life) of Jesus Christ. The spring festival has its roots in the Jewish Passover, which commemorates Israel's deliverance from the bondage of Egypt, and in the Christian reinterpretation of its meaning after the crucifixion of Jesus during the Passover of AD c.30 and the proclamation of his resurrection three days laterEaster Day is currently determined as the first Sunday after the full moon on or after March 21. The Eastern Orthodox churches, however, follow the Julian rather than the Gregorian calendar, so their celebration usually falls several weeks later than the Western Easter. Easter is preceded by the period of preparation called Lent.
3LENTFor Christians, Lent is a 40-day penitential period of prayer and fasting that precedes Easter. In the Western church, observance of Lent begins 6 1/2 weeks prior to Easter on Ash Wednesday; (Sundays are excluded). In the Eastern church the period extends over 7 weeks because both Saturdays and Sundays are excluded. Formerly a severe fast was prescribed: only one full meal a day was allowed, and meat, fish, eggs, and milk products were forbidden. Today, however, prayer and works of charity are emphasized. Lent has been observed since the 4th century.
4ASH WEDNESDAYIn the Christian church, the first day of Lent, occurring 6 1/2 weeks before Easter (between February 4 and March 11, depending on the date of Easter). In the early Christian church, the length of the Lenten celebration varied, but eventually it began 6 weeks (42 days) before Easter. This provided only 36 days of fast (excluding Sundays). In the 7th century, 4 days were added before the first Sunday in Lent in order to establish 40 fasting days, in imitation of Jesus Christ's fast in the desert.It was the practice in Rome for penitents to begin their period of public penance on the first day of Lent. They were sprinkled with ashes, dressed in sackcloth, and obliged to remain apart until they were reconciled with the Christian community on Maundy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter. When these practices fell into disuse (8th-10th century), the beginning of the penitential season of Lent was symbolized by placing ashes on the heads of the entire congregation.In the modern Roman Catholic church, on Ash Wednesday the worshiper receives a cross marked on the forehead with the ashes obtained by burning the palms used on the previous Palm Sunday. Worship services are also held on Ash Wednesday in the Anglican, Lutheran, and some other Protestant churches. Eastern Orthodox churches begin Lent on a Monday and therefore do not observe Ash Wednesday.
6HOLY WEEK - what is that?In the Christian Church, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, observed with special solemnity as a time of devotion to the passion of Jesus Christ. In the Greek and Roman liturgical books it is called the Great Week because great deeds were done by God during this week. The name Holy Week was used in the 4th century by Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, and Epiphanius, bishop of Constantia. Originally only Friday and Saturday were observed as holy days; later Wednesday was added as the day on which Judas plotted to betray Jesus, and by the beginning of the 3rd century the other days of the week had been added. The pre-Nicene Church concentrated its attention on the celebration of one great feast, the Christian Passover, on the night between Saturday and Easter Sunday morning. By the later 4th century the practice had begun of separating the various events and commemorating them on the days of the week on which they occurred: Judas' betrayal and the institution of the Eucharist on Maundy Thursday; the passion and death of Christ on Good Friday; his burial on Saturday; and his Resurrection on Easter Sunday.
7PALM SUNDAYAlso called Passion Sunday, in the Christian tradition, first day of Holy Week and the Sunday before Easter, commemorating Jesus Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It is associated in the Roman Catholic church (and others) with the blessing and procession of palms (leaves of the date palm or twigs from locally available trees). These special ceremonies were taking place toward the end of the 4th century in Jerusalem and are described in the travelogue Peregrinatio Etheriae (The Pilgrimage of Etheria). In the West the earliest evidence of the ceremonies is found in the Bobbio Sacramentary (8th century). During the European Middle Ages the ceremony for the blessing of the palms was elaborate: the procession began in one church, went to a church in which the palms were blessed, and returned to the church in which the procession had originated for the singing of the liturgy. The principal feature of the liturgy that followed the procession was the chanting by three deacons of the account of the Passion of Christ (Matthew 26:36-27:54).Musical settings for the crowd parts were sometimes sung by the choir. After reforms of the Roman Catholic liturgies in 1955 and 1969, the ceremonies were somewhat simplified in order to emphasize the suffering and death of Christ. The day is now called officially Passion Sunday; the liturgy begins with a blessing and procession of palms, but prime attention is given to a lengthy reading of the Passion, with parts taken by the priest, lectors, and the congregation.
8MAUNDY THURSDAYAlso called Holy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter, observed in commemoration of Jesus Christ's institution of the Eucharist. The name is taken from an anthem sung in Roman Catholic churches on that day: "Mandatum novum do vobis" ("a new commandment I give to you"; John 13:34). In the early Christian church the day was celebrated with a general communion of clergy and people. At a special mass the bishop consecrated the holy oils in preparation for the anointing of the neophytes at the Baptism on Easter night. Since 1956 Maundy Thursday has been celebrated in Roman Catholic churches with a morning liturgy for the consecration of the holy oils for the coming year and an evening liturgy in commemoration of the institution of the Eucharist, with a general communion.During the evening liturgy the hosts are consecrated for the communion on Good Friday (when there is no liturgy), and the ceremony of the washing of feet is performed by the celebrant, who ceremonially washes the feet of 12 men in memory of Christ's washing the feet of his disciples. Eastern Orthodox churches also have a ceremony of foot washing and blessing of oil on this day.
9GOOD FRIDAYThe Friday before Easter, the day in Holy Week on which the yearly commemoration of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ is observed. As early as the 2nd century, there are references to fasting and penance on this day by Christians, who, since the time of the early church, had observed every Friday as a fast day in memory of the Crucifixion.In the Roman rite of the Roman Catholic church, the liturgical service for Good Friday has been in approximately the same form for centuries, the notable difference since 1955 being the communion of the people. The liturgy, now celebrated after 3:00 Pm, consists of three distinct parts: readings and prayers (including the Passion according to St. John), the veneration of the cross, and the communion (in place of the Liturgy of the Presanctified, which developed in the Middle Ages). Nonliturgical devotions such as the Way of the Cross and the Three Hours Service were introduced in the Roman Catholic church after the Protestant Reformation and are still observed in some places. The Three Hours Service is a three-hour-long service consisting of sermons, hymns, and prayers centred on Christ's "seven last words on the Cross." It takes place from 12 noon to 3:00 Pm on Good Friday.
10HOLY SATURDAYBeginning in 1955, the Roman Catholic and some other churches restored the Easter Vigil; Eastern Orthodox churches never abandoned the ceremony. The vigil celebration may include lighting fires to symbolize Christ's passing from death to life and tolling bells to signify the joyous end of Lent.Also called EASTER VIGIL, Christian religious observance that ends the Lenten season, falling on the day before Easter Sunday. The early church celebrated the end of Lent with large baptismal ceremonies; but, for many centuries, no services were held on Holy Saturday in the Western churches, recalling the suspended state of Christ's followers in the period between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.
11EASTER SUNDAYEaster, the Sunday of the Resurrection, or Resurrection Day, is the most important religious feast of the Christian liturgical year, observed between late March and late April (early April to early May in Eastern Christianity). It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, which his followers believe occurred on the third day after his death by crucifixion some time in the period AD 27 to 33. In the Roman Catholic Church, Easter is actually an eight-day feast called the Octave of Easter.
13THE EASTER EGGThe Easter Egg predates the Christian holiday of Easter. The exchange of eggs in the springtime is a custom that was centuries old when Easter was first celebrated by Christians.Today, children hunt colored eggs and place them in Easter baskets along with the modern version of real Easter eggs - those made of plastic or chocolate candy.From the earliest times, the egg was a symbol of rebirth in most cultures. Eggs were often wrapped in gold leaf or, if you were a peasant, colored brightly by boiling them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers.
14EASTER BUNNYThe Easter Bunny is not a modern invention, either. The symbol originated with the pagan festival of Eostre. The goddess, Eostre, was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthly symbol, the rabbitThe Germans brought the symbol of the Easter rabbit to America. It was widely ignored by other Christians until shortly after the Civil War. In fact, Easter itself was not widely celebrated in America until after that time.
15OTHER SYMBOLS THE CROSS LAMBS EASTER BELLS THE EASTER LILY Are rung in France and Italy throughout the year but they are not rung on the Thursday before good Friday. They are silent as way to remember the death of Jesus. They are then rung on Easter Sunday as way of telling people Jesus is alive again.This is the symbol for the Christian religion as Jesus was nailed to a cross but then came back to life.The lamb is a symbol as people thought of Jesus as the Good Shepherd who would watch over them as they were lambs. Lambs are born in spring. The Israelites also used lamb's blood to save their firstborn in ancient Egypt.The lily was a reminder to the Christians of how Jesus came back to life. The white Easter Lily is used in many Easter services. It is supposed to be a symbol of the purity of the Virgin Mary.
16EASTER RECEPIE FOR BERRY LEMON TART INGREDIENTS: 1/3 cup cold unsalted butter (no substitutes)1/2 cup sugar1 beaten egg yolk1 tablespoon cornstarch1-1/2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel1 tablespoon lemon juice3 tablespoons lemon juice2 teaspoons poppy seed3 tablespoons water1/4 cup unsalted butter (no substitutes), cut into 4 pieces3 slightly beaten egg yolksNonstick cooking spray1 cup all-purpose flour1/4 cup apple jelly1/4 cup sugar3 cups fresh strawberries, blueberries, or raspberriesPREPARATION: 30min COOK:16min
17EASTER RECIEPE FOR BERRY LEMON TART DIRECTIONS: MAKE-AHEAD TIP: In a small saucepan, heat and stir apple jelly and 2 teaspoons water until melted. Cool slightly. Wash berries; drain and gently dry on several layers of paper towels.Loosen and remove sides of tart pan; place shell on serving platter. Spread lemon filling into shell. Top with berries. Brush berries gently with jelly mixture. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 4 hours. Makes 8 servings.Lightly coat a 9-inch round tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray. Roll pastry between two sheets of waxed paper into an 11-inch circle. Remove top paper. Invert pastry into tart pan; remove waxed paper. Trim pastry even with rim of pan. Using a fork, generously prick bottom and sides of pastry. Line pastry shell with double thickness of foil. Bake in 375 degree F oven for 7 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 9 to 10 minutes more or until golden. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.Combine flour and the 1/4 cup sugar. Cut in the 1/3 cup butter using a pastry blender until pieces are the size of small peas. Combine 1 beaten egg yolk, the 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons poppy seed; gradually stir into flour mixture. Gently knead dough just until mixture forms a ball.For filling, in a saucepan, stir together the 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch. Add lemon peel, the 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and water. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Slowly stir half of the lemon mixture into the 3 egg yolks. Return all egg yolk mixture to saucepan. Cook and stir until mixture comes to a gentle boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Add butter all at once, stirring until completely melted. Cover surface with plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour or for up to 2 days.Wrap pastry dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before using.
18HERE COMES PETER COTTONTAIL THE SONGTo play this song, click hereHERE COMES PETER COTTONTAIL1. Here comes Peter CottontailHoppin' down the bunny trail,Hippity hoppity,Easter's on its way2. Bringin' ev'ry girl and boyA basketful of Easter joyThings to make your EasterBright and gay3. He's got jelly beans for TommyColored eggs for sister SueThere's an orchid for your mommyAnd an Easter bonnet too. Oh!5. Look at him hop and listen to him say,"Try to do the things you should"Maybe if you're extra goodHe'll roll lots of Easter eggs your way4. Here' comes Peter CottontailHoppin' down the bunny trailHippity hoppityHappy Easter Day6. You'll wake up on Easter morningAnd you'll know that he was thereWhen you find those choc'late bunniesThat he's hiding ev’rywhere, Oh!7. Here' comes Peter CottontailHoppin' down the bunny trailHippity hoppityHappy Easter Day.