EASTER SUNDAY in 2017 falls on April 16. Perhaps the most important holy day in Christianity, the Easter season encompasses Lent (40 days of sacrifice beginning with Ash Wednesdsay), Good Friday (the crucifixion of Christ) and Easter Sunday (the resurrection). Easter is one of the most complex of Christian holy days because of the early church's commingling of the resurrection with pre-Christian earth-rites that celebrated the rebirth of nature and fertility at the Spring Equinox (symbolized by the egg, rabbit, lily and other elements). The moon also plays an important role since for the western world Easter Sunday is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon that falls after March 20, the usual date of the Spring Equinox. The Easter/Spring connection to nature's moon cycles thus overrides its historical association with the Jewish Passover, which Jesus celebrated with his disciples on the night before he was taken from the Garden of Gethsemane. Thus, because of the moon, Easter might be celebrated anywhere between March 25 and April 25, which sometimes falls more than three weeks before Passover! In the commemoration of Easter and Spring and the creative energies of new life, we all look forward to the new opportunities, events and people that seem to come our way with the new-born freshness of the season.
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