Here is a short guide for those who are not Christian to understand this holiday and how to be a good neighbor to Christian friends during this Easter season.
What is Easter?
Easter is the time of the year that Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah (deliverer or savior) and that he was resurrected from the dead after dying on the cross. His resurrection is believed to be the ultimate turning point in history. It is believed that his death was in humanity’s place, making it possible for humanity to be saved so that they can spend eternity with God. Easter is the celebration of that resurrection. Easter is usually preceded by a series of other events that are used to celebrate and worship. This would include Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter) and Good Friday (which is the Friday before Easter when Christians recognize the day that Jesus was crucified).
The resurrection is believed by Christians to be the single most significant aspect of the Christian faith. If the resurrection is not true, they believe that their faith is not true.
For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Those, then, who have fallen asleep (read: have died) in Christ have also perished. If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone. 1 Corinthians 15:16-19
The Easter celebration occurs on a Sunday, and usually involves a worship service (often the most highly attended worship service of the year), and a large dinner with friends and family that afternoon.
When is Easter celebrated?
Easter Sunday occurs on the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon. Easter is based on the lunar cycles of the Jewish calendar. This year Easter falls on Sunday, April 9, 2023.
What greetings can I use?
The most common greeting is “Happy Easter”!
How can I be a good neighbor during Easter?
There are a number of things that can be done to be a good neighbor to your Christian friends during Easter.
Among the most thoughtful things you can do is simply to acknowledge Easter. Wish your Christian friends well on Easter.
If you would like, visit a church on Easter Sunday, or ask a Christian friend if you can attend with them. It is perfectly acceptable – even encouraged – for visitors to join in on Easter Sunday.
Additionally, if invited, feel free to join your Christian friends for Easter dinner on a Sunday afternoon. It is a highlight of their calendar, and most Christians love to share that tradition with others.
Finally, it is always appropriate to provide a small gift, or even better, a dish or dessert/treat for your Christian friends and neighbors as a way to acknowledge the importance of the holiday to them.
What is the Easter bunny and why are egg hunts associated with Easter?
The Easter bunny, Easter egg hunts, and Easter baskets are not a specifically Christian element of the holiday, though many Christians and churches are not opposed to them and even incorporate them into the celebration. There are different beliefs about their origin, but they do not generally carry any religious meaning and are simply utilized by many to mark the holiday. Don’t expect, though, to see an Easter bunny or any of its trappings at a Christian church if you happen to visit on Easter.
Why do I see my Christian friends wearing new clothes on Easter?
It has long been a tradition to dress up on Easter, and to mark the transition from winter to spring by wearing bright colors, usually pastels, on Easter. You may see many women and girls wearing bright new dresses, often with large hats, and many men and boys wearing bright-colored jackets, ties, shirts, and pants.