New Zealand, like the rest of the Christian world is observing Easter today (Sunday) April 12, 2020, with the preceding two days and the succeeding day spent in churches, congregations and other religious pursuits. The following article was written for Indian Newslink Issue dated April 2017 by the late Wenceslaus Anthony.
Signifying the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and His Sacrifice for the good of humanity, Easter denotes introspection, charity and service to the community.
For all the festive and commercial clamour surrounding Christmas, Easter is the much more significant occasion on the Christian calendar.
Sombre and Joyous
For believers, the event, which embraces Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, is both the most sombre and the most joyous of their year, and special foods for the occasion have evolved in any culture where the tradition is honoured.
In the Northern Hemisphere, from Pagan times, the Spring Equinox celebrated the end of Winter, and the practice of transposing Christian festivals onto the older Pagan calendar as Easter.
In the Southern Hemisphere, the seasonal significance of Easter and the four-day holiday that traditionally attends it, tends to centre on it being the last great opportunity for a long-weekend away before the onset of Winter. As we are reminded every year, more of us travel at Easter than at any other time of the year.
The Holy Week
Most Christians refer to the week before Easter as ‘Holy Week,’ since it accounts for the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Maundy, the ‘Last Supper’ and Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus.
In Western Christianity, Eastertide, or the Easter Season, begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending with the coming of the Fiftieth Day, known as ‘Pentecost Sunday.’
In Eastern Christianity, the season of Pascha begins on Pascha and ends with the coming of the Fortieth Day, the Feast of the Ascension.
Easter and the holidays that are related to it are ‘moveable feasts,’ which do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian or Julian calendars, which follow only the cycle of the Sun.
Its date is determined on a Lunisolar Calendar like the Hebrew calendar.
The First Council of Nicaea (325) established two rules, independence of the Jewish calendar and worldwide uniformity, which were the only rules for Easter explicitly laid down by the Council.
No details for the computation were specified; these were worked out in practice, a process that took centuries and generated several controversies.
It has come to be the first Sunday after the Ecclesiastical Full Moon that occurs on or soonest after March 21, but calculations vary.
Easter eggs, special cakes and hot-cross buns are among the special foods of Easter, with roast lamb, the dish of the Jewish Passover (which often coincides with the Christian festival) the traditional meat of the celebratory Sunday lunch.
The Power of the Lord, His Grace and Mercy are the most significant aspects of Easter, which must be told time and again, to remind us mortals that we are merely instruments of His Destiny.
Jesus Christ said, “My blood is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
His blood redeems us from sin and gives us righteousness and eternal life.
His sacrifice par excellence the Old Testament sacrificial system because Jesus reconciles the believers and restores the relationship that was broken by Adam’s sin.
Wenceslaus Anthony (Picture by Ashok Kochhar) wrote the above article which appeared in our April 1,2017 Easter Special. He passed away suddenly in Chennai on July 23, 2017. In reproducing this article, we also pay tribute to the memory of a dear friend and Indian Newslink columnist. Mr Anthony was the Chairperson of the Divine Retreat Centre Movement in New Zealand and Advisor to the Vailankanni Committee to celebrate the feast of the Birthday of Mother Mary (on September 8) and Director of Conquest Club, which aims to shape the character and personality of young boys in the 8-14 age group.
Mr Anthony is survived by his wife Susan, their daughter Sneha, and their son-in-law Mario Saverimuttu, who live in Sydney, Australia. Their son Akash died under tragic circumstances on July 18, 2020. The above story has been sponsored by