EASTER: 5 RITUALS ASSOCIATED WITH IT.
Easter,also called Pascha (Greek, Latin)[or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD.
It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent (or Great Lent), a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.
Most Christians refer to the week before Easter as “Holy Week”—it contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Maundy and Last Supper, as well as 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, 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.
In this era of the world, it is more correspondent of the Roman Catholics to observe the lent fast than it is to the average Christian to celebrate Easter.
I will be discussing five interesting rituals of Easter, this is commonly practiced by almost every Christian who celebrates easter.
1. Church Service.
A church service (also called a service of worship, or simply a service) is a formalized period of communal worship in Christiantradition. It often but not exclusively occurs on Sunday, or Saturday in the case of those churches practicing seventh-day Sabbatarianism. The church service is the gathering together of Christians to be taught the ‘Word of God’ (the Christian Bible) and encouraged in their faith. Technically, the “church” in “church service” refers to the gathering of the faithful rather than to the building in which it takes place. In most Christian traditions, services are presided over by clergy wherever possible.
Styles of service vary greatly, from the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and Lutheran traditions of liturgical worship to the evangelical Protestant style, that often combines worship with teaching for the believers, which may also have an evangelistic component appealing to the non-Christians or skeptics in the congregation. Quakers and some other groups have no formal outline to their services, but allow the worship to develop as the participants present feel moved.
2. Easter Egg Decorations.
Easter eggs, also called Paschal eggs, are decorated eggs that are usually used as gifts on the occasion of Easter. As such, Easter eggs are common during the season of Eastertide (Easter season). The oldest tradition is to use dyed and painted chicken eggs, but a modern custom is to substitute chocolate eggs wrapped in colourful foil, hand-carved wooden eggs, or plastic eggs filled with confectionery such as chocolate. Although eggs, in general, were a traditional symbol of fertility and rebirth, in Christianity, for the celebration of Eastertide, Easter eggs symbolize the empty tomb of Jesus, from which Jesus resurrected. In addition, one ancient tradition was the staining of Easter eggs with the colour red “in memory of the blood of Christ, shed as at that time of his crucifixion.
“This custom of the Easter egg can be traced to early Christians of Mesopotamia, and from there it spread into Russia and Siberia through the Orthodox Churches, and later into Europe through the Catholic and Protestant Churches.
This Christian use of eggs may have been influenced by practices in “pre-dynastic period in Egypt, as well as amid the early cultures of Mesopotamia and Crete”.
Prayer (from the Latin precari “to ask earnestly, beg, entreat”)
is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication.
Prayer can be a form of religious practice, may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words, song or complete silence. When language is used, prayer may take the form of a hymn, incantation, formal creedal statement, or a spontaneous utterance in the praying person. There are different forms of prayer such as petitionaryprayer, prayers of supplication, thanksgiving, and praise. Prayer may be directed towards a deity, spirit, deceased person, or lofty idea, for the purpose of worshipping, requesting guidance, requesting assistance, confessing transgressions (sins) or to express one’s thoughts and emotions. Thus, people pray for many reasons such as personal benefit or for the sake of others (called intercession).
Some anthropologists believe that the earliest intelligent modern humans practiced a form of prayer. Today, most major religions involve prayer in one way or another; some ritualize the act, requiring a strict sequence of actions or placing a restriction on who is permitted to pray, while others teach that prayer may be practiced spontaneously by anyone at any time.
Scientific studies regarding the use of prayer have mostly concentrated on its effect on the healing of sick or injured people. Meta-studiesof the studies in this field have been performed showing evidence only for no effect or a potentially small effect. For instance, a 2006 meta analysis on 14 studies concluded that there is “no discernable effect” while a 2007 systemic review of studies on intercessory prayer reported inconclusive results, noting that 7 of 17 studies had “small, but significant, effect sizes” but the review noted that the most methodologically rigorous studies failed to produce significant findings. Some studies have indicated increased medical complications in groups receiving prayer over those without. The efficacy of petition in prayer for physical healing to a deity has been evaluated in numerous other studies, with contradictory results. There has been some criticism of the way the studies were conducted.
4. Easter Night vigil.
Easter Vigil, also called the Paschal Vigil or the Great Vigil of Easter, is a service held in traditional Christian churches as the first official celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. Historically, it is during this service that people are baptized and that adult catechumens are received into full communion with the Church.
It is held in the hours of darkness between sunset on Holy Saturday and sunrise on Easter Day – most commonly in the evening of Holy Saturday or midnight – and is the first celebration of Easter, days traditionally being considered to begin at sunset.
Among liturgical western churches including the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, and Lutheran churches, the Easter Vigil is the most important service of public worship and Masses of the liturgical year, marked by the first use since the beginning of Lent of the exclamatory “Alleluia”, a distinctive feature of the Easter season.
In Eastern Orthodox churches, Oriental Orthodox churches, and other traditions of Eastern Christianity, the extremely festive ceremonies and Divine Liturgy which are celebrated during the Easter Vigil are unique to that night and are the most elaborate and important of the liturgical year.
5. sunrise service.
Sunrise service is a worship service on Easterpracticed by some Protestant churches, replacing the traditional, ancient Easter Vigilpreserved by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches.
The first Easter Sunrise Service recorded took place in 1732 in the Moravian congregation at Herrnhut in the Upper Lusatian hills of Saxony.
After an all-night prayer vigil, the Single Brethren — the unmarried men of the community — went to the town graveyard, God’s Acre, on the hill above the town to sing hymns of praise to the Risen Saviour.
The following year, the whole Congregation joined in the service. Thereafter the “Easter Morning” or “Sunrise Service” spread around the world with the Moravian missionaries. The procession to the graveyard is accompanied by the antiphonal playing of chorales by brass choirs.
The service takes place outdoors, sometimes in a park, and the attendees are seated on outdoor chairs or benches.
Researched by : Temi Badmus