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Published:February 9th, 2008 10:00 EST


By Maria Ardysheva

Among numerous holidays, there is one which unites Christians of all countries – Easter. It is necessary to recollect its history to understand the essence of this holiday.

As it is known, Jews had been in Egypt in captivity for a long time. Egyptians began to see a threat for themselves in Jews. Egyptians drowned newborn Jewish boys in the Nile River to reduce the number of Jews. Israel had appealed to God, and He has sent to them the leader, Moses. Egypt was struck with a number of awful disasters, only after which the pharaoh had agreed to give Israel its freedom.

God told Moses that He would go in night into the middle of Egypt, and any Egyptian first-born would die. The Jewish first-borns would escape this if Jews marked jambs of the doors with blood of sacrificial lambs and eat bitter herbs and fresh bread that night. Before the beginning of a meal it was necessary to collect things to put on, so as to be ready for the road. All had taken place exactly how God had foretold. Since then Israel annually celebrates this rescue as the holiday of Easter, a pass over, which means that death has passed over that night.

Having come back to their territory, Jewish people lived under the yoke of the Roman occupation and suppression. Nevertheless it was not forbidden for Jews to keep their religion. People hoped the Messiah, which God had promised as a prophet, would be sent for disposal. They interpreted promises in political terms. At this time, Jesus was born. Many Jews prepared for the arrival of the Messiah and did expect him, but by their conceptions, the Messiah should be a king in another sense, rather than Jesus.

At thirty years of age Jesus had left his house to begin service to the people. He had chosen from a crowd of followers twelve persons who began to accompany him in his wanderings. Twelve pupils observed him and listened to his words. They were convinced that Jesus was really the Messiah. Counteraction to Jesus grew day by day. He was offended by the frankness of teachers of the Law. They were indignant, because Jesus said that he could let off sins of people.

One of the twelve pupils of Jesus has decided to betray him. During the night, Jesus was arrested, and next morning Pilate had ratified the death sentence.

After Jesus’ crucifixion, on the third day, a woman came to execute last ceremonies upon Jesus’ body, but she saw that the body had disappeared. Women had seen in the tomb an angel and had told the pupils about it. Then they had believed that Jesus had risen again, as promised.

Today Christians from all around the world celebrate the holiday of Easter as a holiday of the disposal of the Messiah’s death. They have received life similar to those Jews who had found freedom after Egyptian captivity, because for them the blood of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was spilt.

Despite the fact that many Christians celebrate this holiday and despite their common religion, there are some differences behind the customs of celebration. For example, in England, most people usually go to church in the morning for a holiday service. After that, children begin to look for painted eggs, which are hiding in different places inside and outside of homes. This is called “Easter hare.” And all day, you may be sure to hear, “Christ is resurrected!” and “In truth is resurrected!”