I know that many of my followers and readers are from countries with a strong Christian culture and that this post will probably present no new information. However, I believe that it will be interesting for those from different culture and religion, that only knows a little (or nothing) about it.

Icon of the Resurrection depicting Christ
(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, is a Christian festival and holiday that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead which is described in the New Testament. Easter can also be called with the Greek name Pascha.

According to the New Testament Jesus resurrection occurred on the third day after his burial following the crucifixion at the Calvary. And it is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, which is preceded by the Great Lent, a 40-days period of fasting and prayer. Most Christians refer to the week before Easter as the Holy Week.

Easter and the holidays that are related to it are moveable feasts, it means that they do not fall on a fixed date in calendars as Gregorian or Julian. These holidays are based on a lunisolar calendar that is more similar to the Hebrew calendar. Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover not only by the position on the calendar, but by much of its symbolism.

The customs and traditions related to Easter vary across the Christian world, including sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the church and decorating Easter eggs. Here it is a list with some Easter customs and its symbology:

  • Easter eggs are today a symbol of the empty tomb. The eggs have been since ancient time associated to a new life and rebirth. It is believed that the Christian custom of Easter eggs is originated of a Christian community in ancient Mesopotamia. In some countries the eggs are decorated by the family.
  • Easter lily is a symbol of the resurrection. They traditionally decorate the cancel area of the churches.
  • Egg hunting is a game for children in which the adults hide the Easter eggs for children to find.
  • Easter bunny is a folkloric figure associated to Easter, because it is the responsible for bringing the eggs. It is originated in Germany with the Lutherans, its originally role was evaluating the behaviour of children.
Dreihasenfenster (Window of Three Hares) in Paderborn Cathedral, Germany

Easter in Art

As many other festivities and religious holiday, Easter is well depicted in art. As we well know religion can be an important source of inspiration for some artists or have a great influence in many others.

Easter in the village by Margareta Sterian

It is also important to mention that during a long period of the Wester history, artists were hired by the church to work on the decoration of the temples, since it was through images that the priests could approximate the doctrine to illiterate people, which were the majority.

Hollowed eggs for Easter by Mary Pratt

I found some artworks by women artists and what surprised me the most it was that they’re not exactly related to religious aspects or biblical scenes. They’re more an expression of traditions of this period, moments lived by the artists with their families, at their homes.