Easter Day

The meaning behind Easter

March 26, 2013 by Melissa Teoh

Easter throughout the world is often known as a time for holidays, festivals and the good-ol-fashioned tradition of giving chocolate Easter eggs and hunting for them with children. Despite all the fun and excitement, Easter actually represents much more than this. Easter as a celebration is the oldest and the most important of Christian festivals. It commemorates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is a core foundation of the Christian faith. For Christians everywhere, the dawn of Easter Sunday brings a message of hope and renewal which marks a poignant passage of a Christian year.

Easter as a celebration revolves around the chapters concerning Jesus’ last days before his passing, more than two thousand years ago. There are a few important days in this festival, namely Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Holy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, a reference to a Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples on the night before his death where he revealed that he would be betrayed, killed and yet brought back to life. In this, his actions spoke of his willingness to sacrifice himself to absolve the sins of all mankind and the importance of duty and service towards one another. Today, meals taken during the Lord’s Supper is symbolic of Christ’s unselfish sacrifice and a reflection that through faith and the willingness to serve one another, that Christians ultimately become closer to God. Good Friday on the other hand commemorates the day that Jesus was crucified, his eventual death on a cross and finally his burial. Many people usually ask, “What is Good Friday?” implying, “Why do Christians call it Good Friday if it is the day that Jesus died? What’s good about that?”

Celebrating Good Friday means that as Christians, they understand the crux of Christianity. It is good because that is the day that Christians celebrate and honour the fact that Jesus Christ willingly chose to suffer in our stead, and die for us, so that we may be cleansed of all our sins. His selfless act is immortalized in his last few words, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Easter Sunday is the zenith of festivities, as it is on this day that the resurrection of Jesus is remembered and celebrated. According to biblical anecdotes, after Jesus’ crucifixion and death, he was brought back to life and walked amongst men before he ascended to heaven. His resurrection was considered a miracle in the Christian faith, and that his coming back to life was proof that He was the Son of God.

As the new liturgical day begins at sunset, an Easter Vigil known as Holy Saturday is held between the evening of Saturday and sunrise on Easter Sunday. It is during this time that the Easter fire is kindled in churches and the Paschal candle is blessed and lit. It is a procession that begins in darkness and proceeds through a church with more and more candles lit. This is symbolic of the “Light of Christ”, as the shadows recede with the coming of light, so is salvation possible through faith and virtue.

Easter Day in Malaysia

This year, Easter Day falls on Sunday, 31st March and will be celebrated by Christians throughout Malaysia. Usually, Christians would attend special services held by the churches and then followed by gathering activities with family and friends.

During Holy Thursday, in many churches, Christians commemorate the institution of the Eucharist by Jesus at the Last Supper with his 12 apostles with a simple feast of bread and wine. Then the priest who presides over the service would wash the feet of church members, in keeping with the example shown by Jesus to his disciples as a sign of life in service to one another.

On Good Friday, the faithful would attend services, usually starting at 3pm. This is the time that is believed to be the hour when Jesus was crucified on the cross at Mt Calvary outside the city of Jerusalem. On this day an interesting observation called the Adoration of the Cross is held, where members of the congregation would make their way to kiss a cross, as a sign of accepting the cross of their life. This is symbolic of embracing & enduring the trials of pain and suffering, in the same spirit by which Jesus accepted his Passion and Crucifixion.

The celebration continues on Easter Sunday, on which Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus who is believed by them to have risen from the death on the third day. This is enacted with the Easter Vigil and the lighting of the Paschal candle, representing the light of salvation. In some churches, Easter is also often accompanied by more food, games and activities for children such as painting of Easter eggs and hunting for Easter eggs with the young ones.

Our country is a cultural melting pot blessed with a compassionate society. Over several centuries, traditions infused through Malaysia’s eclectic melange of inter-marriages and from the influences of expatriates who have come to call this place home have done much to grow the Christian community to what it has become today.

Easter is a day of faith, but it also means much more than this as it is not only a time for families and communities to get together and reflect on what it truly means to be a Christian, but to also celebrate life with the people around us with humility, hard work and kindness. All in all, don’t forget to have fun and smile ^_^

Happy Easter!

Plans for Easter Day

What are your plans for Easter Day?

If you’re still looking for ideas for celebrating Easter, here are some ideas to spice it up with your family and friends:

  • Paint eggs

    Paint eggs

    All you need is a colouring set, box of eggs, and newspaper spread over the kitchen table, and you can spend some fun time with your kids.
  • Make your own Easter snacks

    Make your own Easter snacks

    Try making some simple snacks for Easter such as marshmallow bunny, boiled eggs, hot cross buns, etc.
  • Go on an Easter Egg Hunt

    Go on an Easter Egg Hunt

    A game during where decorated eggs, real hard-boiled ones or artificial, filled with or made of chocolate candies, of various sizes, are hidden in various places for children to find.
  • Exchange gifts

    Exchange gifts

    Organize a session for exchanging gifts to convey wishes and blessings to your loved ones.
  • Take Easter photos

    Take Easter photos

    Snap amazing photos with your loved ones by posing with Easter objects.
  • Decorate your house

    Decorate your house

    Fill your home with DIY designs or Easter decorations bought from the store or do a festive spring clean instead.
  • Take your family out for a dinner

    Take your family out for a dinner

    Bring your family out for a feast to celebrate Easter Day.
  • Host an Easter Party

    Host an Easter Party

    Invite family and friends to your home to enjoy the food and play games together.