The holiday of Easter

In the Christian tradition, the year is basically divided into three big chunks. There is the time associated with Christmas, the time associated with Easter, and then there’s everything else. Our whole year is structured around the timing of Christmas and Easter.

Christmas and Easter each have two seasons associated with them, one leading up to it and one after it. For Christmas there’s the seasons of Advent and Christmas, and for Easter there’s the seasons of Lent and Easter.

As I have discussed before, Christianity has three basic ideas, what you might call its “fundamental verities”. These are the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ. The incarnation, when Christ took on a human body, is remembered at several times during the year, but especially at Christmas. The death of Christ is remembered every Friday, but in a special way on Good Friday. And the resurrection, commemorated every Sunday, is commemorated especially at Easter. That’s why Christmas, Good Friday and Easter are so important for Christians.

Although the secular culture makes a bigger deal of Christmas, within Christianity Good Friday and Easter are considered holier. Easter is so holy, in fact, that it does not occur on day only, but extends for an entire week. Every day this week is considered to be Easter.

The whole Easter season lasts 50 days.  The fortieth day is Ascension, when Christ rose bodily into heaven 40 days after his resurrection.  Ten days after that is Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon Mary and the Apostles.

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