This week is a celebration for many of those of faith. Christians around the world will celebrate Easter, the most Holy Day of solemn and celebratory seasons of their faith. The holiday, this Sunday, ends a four-week period of lament and self-denial and causes Christians to pause and pray over the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and contemplate His resurrection.
Children will also celebrate Easter by dyeing eggs in colorful patterns, hunting for plastic eggs containing special treasures, and going to sleep with visions of the Easter bunny hopping through their heads.
On Easter morning many children will wake up excitedly to find the Easter baskets left behind by the roaming rabbit, and enough chocolate, jelly beans and Peeps to keep them awake for two days.
Those of the Jewish faith begin their celebration of Passover the evening of Friday, March 30, through Saturday, April 6.
Passover commemorates the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. During this time, unleavened bread is eaten to commemorate the same that was eaten by the Israelites when they left Egypt. The highlight of Passover is the Seder dinner, which includes a recitation of the liturgy that describes the Exodus from Egypt.
The two faith-filled celebrations are tied together, as Jesus observed the Seder with his apostles on the eve of his crucifiction. Some of the earliest mentions of Easter come from the Greek or Latin word Pasch, for Passover.
Springtime celebrations can also be traced back to early gods and goddesses. According to the History Channel and other sources, some say the word Easter is derived from the word Eostre, the Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility.
The History Channel and other sources also report on the choice of the bunny to be the Easter hero — as a prolific procreator, rabbits are a symbol of fertility, as are eggs, for obvious reasons.
As spring descends, the earth is a fertile cradle from which the sleeping bounty of plants, vegetables and fruits abounds.
Whatever faith you profess, these weeks are a time to celebrate a most holy season, and to realize the long winter is finally over and spring will bloom again.
These are trying times around the world as acts of terror, violence and political rancor continue to escalate. Let’s unite — for the next few weeks at least — to honor peace, love, sacrifice, and a time of growth and renewal.
Let’s figure out a way to reinforce our faith — if only in humanity.