- The significance of Easter
- What is the history behind Easter Monday?
- Why is Easter called ‘Easter’?
- The symbols and traditions of Easter
- Why is the color purple associated with Easter?
- What is the difference between Easter Sunday and Easter Monday?
- How Easter Monday is celebrated?
- Healthy tips to consider during Easter
- Final Thought
It is that time of year again when we tend to be exposed to endless exquisite and decorative easter eggs of all types, an abundance of commercialized candies being displayed at every grocery store, easter bunnies running around, and family gatherings. Have you ever wondered what the significance is of celebrating Easter Sunday? Better yet, Easter Monday? Why does Easter exist? Why is there an Easter Sunday and Easter Monday? As most of us might, I find myself reminiscing about my early childhood, scrambling around my mother’s garden in hopes of finding plastic easter eggs filled with an array of coins and treats. But where do all these symbolic traditions originate from? Continue reading further to unravel the meaning of Easter Monday.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF EASTER
Easter is a Christian holiday that celebrates the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. According to the New Testament of the Bible, the event is said to have occurred three days after Jesus was crucified by Pontius Pilate and died on the cross in roughly 30 A.D. The holiday concludes the “Passion of Christ,” a series of events and holidays that begin with Lent – 40 days of fasting, prayer, and sacrifice – and ends with Holy Week, which includes Holy Thursday (Jesus’ Last Supper with his 12 disciples), Good Friday (on which Jesus’ crucifixion is observed) and Easter Sunday. The purpose of Easter also means the full confirmation of all that Jesus taught and preached during his three-year ministry. For the most part, Easter represents the restoration of life after death, rebirth, and new life.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY BEHIND EASTER MONDAY?
Without any doubt, Easter is among the most important dates in the Christian calendar which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter Monday is the last day of celebrations of the holy week before the working week resumes. It is a public holiday in many countries worldwide. The first known use of the term ‘Easter Monday’ began in the 15th century. The Monday after Easter that is observed on Sundays is a day of strong religious significance for Christians.
While different cultures observe the day with different traditions, all the followers of Christ come together to celebrate the ‘Messiah’s’ return to Earth in their way. The Catholic Church likes to call it the “Monday of the Angel.”
WHY IS EASTER CALLED ‘EASTER’?
St. Bede the Venerable, the 6th-century author of “Ecclesiastical History of the English People”, concludes that the English word “Easter” comes from Eostre, or Eostrae, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility. Another probability is the Norse Eostur, Eastur, or Ostara, which meant “the season of the growing sun” or “the season of new birth.” The word east comes from the same roots. In this case, easter would be linked to the changing of the season.
Other historians proclaim that ‘Easter’ derives from in albis, a Latin phrase that’s plural for alba, or “dawn,” that became Eostarum in Old German, a precursor to modern-day English. Regardless of its significance in Christianity as a holy day, many of the traditions and symbols that play a key role in Easter observances have roots in pagan celebrations – particularly the pagan goddess Eostre – and in the Jewish holiday of Passover.
THE SYMBOLS AND TRADITIONS OF EASTER
It is believed that eggs represented fertility and birth in certain pagan traditions that pre-dated Christianity. Egg decorating may have become part of the Easter celebration in a nod to the religious significance of Easter – Jesus’ resurrection or re-birth. The use of painted and decorated Easter eggs was first recorded in the 13th century. The church prohibited the eating of eggs during Holy Week, but chickens continued to lay eggs during that week. This brought on the notion of identifying those as “Holy Week” eggs which were then decorated. As a result, many people today – mostly children – participate in Easter egg hunts in which decorated eggs are hidden.
In some households, a character known as the Easter Bunny delivers candy and chocolate eggs to children on the morning of Easter Sunday. A concept that personally would frighten me as a kid thinking about a tremendously huge rabbit visiting the house. However, the exact origins of the Easter Bunny tradition are unknown. Although, some historians believe it arrived in America with German immigrants during the 1700s. Rabbits are, in many cultures, known as enthusiastic procreators. Therefore, the arrival of baby bunnies in springtime meadows becomes symbolic of birth and renewal. Additionally, Easter foods you may find in family gatherings may have some symbolism as well. An Easter dinner of lamb has historical roots since a lamb was often used as a sacrificial animal in Jewish traditions and served during Passover. The phrase “lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” is used to refer to Jesus and the sacrificial nature of his death.
WHY IS THE COLOR PURPLE ASSOCIATED WITH EASTER?
During antiquity, purple dye was a prized commodity because of how difficult it was to obtain. In particular, purple dye was obtained from the harvesting of certain marine snails. In light of how labor-intensive it was to produce purple dye, purple apparel was very expensive and often only worn by kings and high-ranking authorities. As such, the color purple became known as a mark of royalty and sovereignty. The Roman soldiers who tortured Jesus would’ve been well-aware of the imperial symbolism behind the color purple. This is why, in mocking Jesus before His crucifixion, the soldiers dressed Jesus in a purple robe and put a crown of thorns on His head, proceeding to then beat Him and yell, “Hail, king of the Jews!”
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EASTER SUNDAY AND EASTER MONDAY?
With Easter Sunday now behind us, we have now arrived at Easter Monday. While most of us know the biblical reasons for observing Good Friday and Easter Sunday, what is so significant about today? As it follows Easter Sunday, the day Jesus Christ was resurrected following his crucifixion on Good Friday, it is believed that Jesus remained on Earth for 40 days. During this time, he appeared to believers, healed the sick, and spread the word of God. The acts he carried out during this period are thought to have helped establish the first church. After the 40 days ended, Christians believe that he ascended into heaven. However, the Bible does not say anything about what happened on Easter Monday. It also doesn’t specifically instruct Christians to celebrate the Monday following Easter Sunday.
But across the globe, different cultures celebrate the day for different reasons. For some, it’s a more solemn remembrance of Christ’s death and resurrection, which is marked with an outdoor procession. For others, there’s a more playful element to celebrating the day, like holding Easter egg-rolling competitions. Rolling Easter eggs are traditionally meant to symbolize the rolling of the stone from the tomb where Jesus was held.
HOW EASTER MONDAY IS CELEBRATED
Easter Monday is not typically considered a federal holiday. Most public life is no different from any other Monday except for the leftover meals, easter eggs, and other treats. However, there are plenty of Easter activities that people still have. One of which is the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. For the first time since 2019, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will host at the White House South Lawn today. Other countries like Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, and Romania do celebrate the date as a public holiday due to different and interesting traditions surrounding the date. Easter Monday is also known as:
- Bright Monday: For many Orthodox Christians, the fast and the time of mourning is over and it is a time to be joyous while liturgies are also held.
- Wet Monday: takes place annually on Easter Monday in Poland when people get water thrown at them. The tradition most likely goes back to the 14th century, but it likely also has pre-Christian origins connected to the March equinox and the coming of spring – water being a symbol of life and renewal.
- Dyngus Day: Historically a Polish tradition, Dyngus Day celebrates the end of the observance of Lent and the joy of Easter. It also dates back to the baptism of Prince Mieszko I on Easter Monday in 966 A.D.
HEALTHY TIPS TO CONSIDER DURING EASTER MONDAY
If you have diabetes, you might find yourself cursing Easter. It’s really important to remember eating a healthy diet with low sugar and fats, as part of a diabetic-friendly easter menu. Doing so can still make this Easter Monday an enjoyable one with your family and friends. Today, diabetics lead a normal life by controlling diet, daily habits such as sleep, rest, physical activity, oral antidiabetics, or insulin. Thus, you can also enjoy the good things that are offered in moderation. Since chocolates and other sweets may be tempting, chocolates with a higher concentration of cocoa is recommended. Rich in flavonoids (an antioxidant that helps in heart protection) are darker than milk chocolate and have a stronger taste.
We know that Easter is not exactly the party bunnies delivering chocolate eggs in the house, right? From catholic religious origins celebrating the resurrection of Christ, this date has become a widely commercial holiday. Nonetheless, Easter Monday is rooted in many historical significances and symbolisms. Before reading this article, did you know Easter Monday was a thing? If so, how do you and your loved ones celebrate this day? Feel free to leave us a comment down below.