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EasterMarch 27, 2016
Easter, also known as Resurrection Day celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, is the most important religious feast of the Christian liturgical year.
In the Roman Catholic Church, Easter is an eight-day feast called the Octave of Easter.
At Nicaea, there was agreement Easter Day needed to be always a Sunday. It was decided that Easter Day would be celebrated on the first Sunday following the first ecclesiastical full moon (this is a calculated lunar cycle – sometimes not exactly equivalent to the astronomical reality) that occurs on or after March 21 (the day of the ecclesiastical vernal equinox).
Easter Sunday can fall as early as March 22 or at the latest on April 25.
Eastern Orthodox Easter
Orthodox Catholics usually celebrate Easter almost a month after Roman Catholics. There are approximately 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.
In Romania, where 85 percent of the population is Orthodox Christian, the resurrection of Christ is celebrated on the evening before Easter Sunday with a holy flame originating in Jerusalem thar is passed between churches.
Worshippers visit their local church with candles and take the flame - which is seen as a light from God - back into their homes for Easter Sunday.
The classic crucifixion image of Jesus in agony on a cross, so ingrained in Christian consciousness as to be its dominant archetype, is a rather new expression (probably less than a millenia old) created for political reasons during the Dark Ages. It has largely supplanted images of Christ's victory over death and a paradise on earth that filled the earliest Christian churches.
"It took Jesus a thousand years to die. Images of his corpse did not appear in churches until the tenth century," write Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker in their book Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire.
During a five-year survey of early Christian art in the Mediterranean and throughout Europe, the authors looked for the earliest depictions of Jesus and found plenty of images suggesting rescue from danger, baptism, paradise, and victory over death.
The earliest "dead" Jesus they found was in a side chapel of the Cologne Cathedral in northern Germany. The Gero Cross, a crucifix sculpted from oak, dates from around 960-970.
"In Christianity's second millenium the Crucifixion expelled paradise from earth. And Jesus died again."
In their book, the authors detail how life-affirming forms of Christianity succumbed to a focus on redemptive violence during the second millenium, infecting the faith like a virus.
"We recover here a life-giving, life-affirming Christianity, rooted in an ancient Mesopotamian past, that has survived despite many attempts to repress or destroy it and despite theological shifts that have betrayed it. We offer our study of this world as paradise as a way to retrieve a faith that affirms the many ways that people love one another, themselves, and the earth."
Easter Bunnies, Eggs and Ham
What is it with Easter Bunnies, anyway? Eggs and ham suggest breakfast, not a religious holiday. And what's with the decorated egg shells?
These symbols are everywhere this time of year, but what do they have to do with the Christian celebration of the Resurrection? Do white rabbits have some spiritual significance? Are colored eggs Christian? And why eat ham on a day celebrating Jesus, a lifelong Jew who never touched the meat?
Continued in Out of the Past
Heat over high heat just to boiling. Remove from burner. Cover pan.
Let eggs stanbd in hot water about 15 minutes for large eggs (12 minutes for medium eggs; 18 minutes for extra large).
Drain immediately. Color and decorate for Easter.
Or, cool completely under cold running water or in bowl of ice water, then refrigerate.
Caution: Never microwave eggs in shells. Steam builds up too quickly inside and eggs are likely to explode.
Did you know? It's almost impossible to hard-cook eggs at high altitudes above 10,000 feet.
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