Easter is a holiday celebrated each spring in many countries throughout the world. It is essentially a Christian religious celebration based on the scriptures which indicate that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. Each year we celebrate the resurrection on Easter Sunday. Interestingly, Easter can be considered a moveable feast since the date of it is not fixed in relation to our calendar. It is in fact, celebrated on the first Sunday after the northern hemisphere’s full moon or vernal equinox. Hence the date can vary between March 22 and April 25.
“So, why do we celebrate Easter with eggs and bunnies?” you might ask. These modern-day symbols of Easter are attributed to ancient legends. The Ancient Egyptians believed that the earth hatched from an egg and therefore it symbolized new life that returns. The Egyptians also believed that rabbits symbolized new life and rebirth. The visit of the Easter Bunny apparently came about due to a German legend that a poor woman decorated and hid eggs for her children during a famine. Just as the children found the eggs, a large rabbit was seen hopping away. Most children these days know about the resurrection of Jesus but very few give any thought as to why they eat a lot of candy eggs and bunnies at Easter.
The point of all of this is that the human race has shown itself to have an incredible propensity for creating traditional holidays based on ancient stories, despite the graveness of their origins. People need traditions in their lives but they tend to diminish the seriousness of the religious aspects of them by creating icons like the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. Valentines Hearts have all but eradicated the remembrance of Saint Valentine, himself. These icons appear to have been created to make the traditions less serious and more fun for children. Human beings like to have fun whenever they can and the more light-hearted aspects of the celebrations are what creates dedication to, and longevity of, our traditions.
When we celebrate Easter we are really celebrating the rebirth of the greatest leader of mankind, Jesus. Despite any religious view you might have it occurs to me that when Easter Sunday comes around each year, we should think about mankind and how history is replete with leaders that made our world what it is today. Non-Christian countries also have celebrations based on ancient leaders and icons. Muslims, for example celebrate Ramadan, which is a month-long celebration for the revelations of God to humankind. It is apparently, the month in which the first verses of the Qur’an or Koran were revealed to the prophet and great Muslim leader, Muhammad. In India, Sikhs celebrate Diwali, which is said to celebrate the release from prison of the sixth guru, Hargobind who rescued 52 Hindu kings held captive by the Mughal Emperor in the Gwalior Fort in 1619. In China they have the Duanwu Festival or Dragon Boat Festival which is believed to be a celebration of the ancient Chinese leader and poet, Qu Yuan who drowned himself in the Miluo River after being banished by the reigning king of the state of Chu. As you can see, virtually every culture on earth has celebrations based on great leaders of the past.
The great that that are honored with holidays all over the world possessed a common thread...each and every one of them is known to have been a kind, caring leader who thought nothing of his own life or safety. They were willing to give up their own lives for their people.
We don’t need a holiday to celebrate the greatness of those who went before us. We can quite easily honor and respect the goodness of mankind’s leaders every day. We should all educate ourselves on what made the great leaders of the past deserving of such deep reverence by modern people and attempt to emulate, in some small way, the thoughts, actions and attitudes of them. We can all become better people and a good first step is to learn from those who went before us.
When you celebrate Easter, Ramadan, Diwali, or the Dragon Boat Festival this year, have fun, enjoy the day, and spend a few minutes thinking about how those great leaders of the past made it possible for us all to enjoy better lives.
All the Best!