Ever want to know how Easter works? We aren’t talking about the Easter bunny per se but the breakdown of the religious holiday. We are entering into the Lenten season for Christians and Catholics. Lent is the time of the liturgical calendar leading up to Easter. (The liturgical calendar is basically the holidays and events that the church celebrates.) Not all Christian denominations celebrate all the parts of Lent.
Lent is described as lasting for a total duration of 40 days. But it does not include Sundays, so the season is really 46 days long overall. The 40 days represent the separation of Jesus in the desert to fast and pray. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday (Saturday evening before Easter Sunday). Lent is the countdown to Easter.
Easter Sunday changes dates every year. And because of that, all the celebrations/events that lead up to Easter also change dates. This year, Easter is on Sunday, April 9, 2023. The holiday occurs on the Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox. (Remember we talked about Fall Equinox a few months ago.) So Easter is based on the moon, the vernal equinox, and the Gregorian calendar (not the Julian calendar). Easter can be from March 22 through April 25. For 2023, the vernal equinox falls on March 20, 2023, making the first full moon after that date April 6, 2023, and the following Sunday, April 9, 2023, is Easter. Phew…that is a LOT!
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
Fat Tuesday can be called Shrove Tuesday, Carnival Tuesday, or even Pancake Tuesday. Fat Tuesday refers to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday. (Most people don’t choose to fast during Lent). Several individuals/congregations eat pancakes on Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras is tied to Fat Tuesday. Ever heard about a King Cake? Check out the history of the King Cake and learn a recipe here.
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Ash Wednesday is a holy day of prayer and fasting and the actual first day of Lent. The Lenten season typically includes a Lenten daily devotional and making a Lenten sacrifice that people will not partake of until the arrival of Easter. During Lent, people can decide to “give up” or “take on” doing good things. Many Christians attend special church services on Ash Wednesday, where they will receive ash on their foreheads. The ashes are prepared by burning palm leaves from last year’s Palm Sunday celebrations. If you wish to participate in an Ash Wednesday service today, several churches are holding services in the area. Check your local Christian or catholic churches near you.
Sunday, April 2, 2023
Palm Sunday is also called Passion Sunday. Palm Sunday is the first day of Holy Week and the Sunday before Easter. Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It is associated in many churches with the blessing and procession of palms. This is where you wave your palms in the air…just like you don’t care.
Thursday, April 6, 2023
Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper. The Last Supper was where the sacrament of Holy Communion was taught. Also, Maundy Thursday marks the washing of the feet. Congregations may have a service on this day as well.
Friday, April 7, 2023
Good Friday before Easter. Good Friday represents the crucifixion of Jesus. This is another day that congregations may have a service, and the sanctuary or meeting space is shrouded in black.
Sunday, April 9, 2023
Easter Sunday is the day that Christians and Catholics celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the big day that Lent was counting down for. Easter Sunday is a day of celebration. The dark shrouds are removed. There is typically an overabundance of flowers. It is a day of joy and life.
Okay, now what about that rascally rabbit…the Easter Bunny. The Easter Bunny originated from German Lutherans. The Easter Hare at the time was a judge to see if children were good or bad. It was kind of like a spring Santa. And like Santa, the Easter Bunny brings gifts like eggs, candies, and toys.
AOL has a great breakdown of the Lenten season here. What are your holiday traditions? Did you learn something new? We would love to learn more about what you do!
Johanna is married with two kids, three dogs, three cats, one leopard gecko, several chickens, and a few fish. She has been in the Pacific Northwest since the dream was alive in the 90s but has Southern roots and hails from Arkansas. The family spends a lot of time at some sort of sporting event for the kids. Johanna likes to fast craft, garden, host parties, and bake. Johanna and her crew go hard traveling, DIY-ing, and are always up for a new adventure or challenge.