Susmita Pathak Mishra
Christians all over the world are celebrating Easter Sunday on April 16, 2017. The day marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ every year. Easter is important as it signifies the triumph of justice, love, and peace, which constituted the main teachings of the messenger of God.
Easter Sunday has come this year amidst the conflicts arising between the United States and Syria. Jesus Christ never encouraged wealth, violence, and power while the world players seem to have created space for the same. When Syrian conflict is one of the major global issues during the Easter Sunday, it is important to note that the country marks the origin of the occasion in some manner.
Though the date of the first Easter is still unknown, records state that the Holy Week tradition reflects the Apostolic Constitutions that was eminent in the latter half of the third and fourth century from Syria. The Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday, continues through Good Friday, and ends with Easter. Hence, Syria plays an important role so far as the celebration of Easter is concerned.
Pope Francis marked the role of Syria in the celebration of Easter while he cherished the traditional day in Rome. He requested the mass to end “horror and death” in the region.
“May [God] sustain the efforts of those who are actively working to bring comfort and relief to the civilian population in beloved Syria, who are greatly suffering from a war that does not cease to sow horror and death,” he addressed crowd at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City on Easter Sunday.
The Pope also prayed that “may the risen Lord” guide the world leaders to stay in peace and maintain international harmony. He also prayed to Jesus to grant the world players “the courage they need to prevent the spread of conflicts.”
This year it’s an Easter Sunday on April 16. However, the date of Easter changes every year. It is because the day always falls on the first Sunday after the full moon following a spring equinox. Thus, the Easter will fall on April 1 in 2018 while April 21 in 2019.
Though the Christian community has been struggling for long to maintain its existence in the Middle East, the members have celebrated Easter Sunday whole-heartedly. Despite their fear of war, violence, and religious discrimination, the Christians over there gathered to cherish the traditional event at Jerusalem’s Church of the Hoy Sepulchre. The church is believed to have been constructed on the same site where Jesus was crucified and resurrected.
On the other hand, Iraqi Christians gathered in a church that was destroyed by ISIS from the north of Mosul. They celebrated Easter Sunday for the first time since 2014. Among one of the worshippers was 75-year-old Kyriacos Isho. He came to the church with his 12 children and grandchildren.
“God willing, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ will also mark the return and rising-up of the Christians in Iraq,” he said at Mar Gewargis Chaldean Catholic church in Tel Esqof.
According to some religious scholars, the name Easter has been derived from Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon Goddess who symbolized the hare and egg. On the other hand, other mythical beliefs note that the name Easter has originated from Eostre, a pre-Christian Goddess in England. The stories reveal that Eostre was celebrated at the beginning of spring.
Spring marks the return of plants and trees to life after their dormancy during winter. The season also signified the new life in the world of animals. This new life and rebirth theories made Easter the natural way of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus every year. An egg that symbolizes the beginning of new life, therefore, is considered as one of the most important elements in the celebration of Easter.
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