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Describe and explain the religious and non-religious customs associated with Easter.

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RS GCSE Assignment Christian Festivals RS 1: Describe and explain the religious and non-religious customs associated with Easter. Easter is the most important festival for the Christian church. It is significant as the time when Jesus dies and rose to life again. There are also many non-religious customs associated with Easter. Even before the advent of Christianity this time of year was a pagan celebration of new life, winter giving way to spring. In this essay I will therefore look at the religious and non-religious customs associated with Easter. The period leading up to Easter is lent. Lent covers a period of forty days immediately preceding Easter. It reminds Christians of the period that Jesus spent in the wilderness (Luke 4: 1-15). During this time Jesus fasted and was tempted by the devil. Christians therefore follow Jesus' example by using this time as a preparation period for Easter. Traditionally Christians have therefore spent time fasting or abstaining from other pleasures. Members are encouraged to prepare spiritually by spending time reading the bible. ...read more.


Christian services on Palm Sunday usually end with a procession. Small palm crosses are given to the congregation to remind them of the beginning of Holy Week and what lay ahead for Jesus. During the Middle Ages Palm Sunday carnivals were led by Bishops riding on real donkeys. In later years carved wooden donkeys were used. Legend says that every donkey carries the sign of the cross. They do have a brown patch in the shape of a cross on their backs which has led to this belief. The Thursday of Holy Week is called Maundy Thursday. It commemorates the last supper which Jesus had with His disciples. Before He ate this last meal Jesus washed His disciples' feet (John 13: 2-11). This was the task of the lowest servant. By this act Jesus was showing Himself to be a servant King. Jesus was showing the disciples that they must learn to serve and give themselves in service to others. They then went on to celebrate the traditional Jewish Passover meal, but Jesus changed it by instructing His followers to break bread and drink wine in memory of His forthcoming death. ...read more.


He spoke to the woman who came to the tomb and later that evening appeared to the disciples. He even ate some food to prove He was not a ghost. This was the most significant event for the Christian church as Jesus had triumphed over sin and death. This event is called the resurrection. The significance of the resurrection show us that death is not the end and if we believe in Jesus we can have eternal life. Christians celebrate Easter with praise and thanksgiving. Easter services are usually joyful, and many services include Holy Communion to remember His death and resurrection. Churches tend to be decorated and the hymns and worship are very joyful. Eggs are given to symbolise 'new life'. It has become a custom to give cards and gifts with symbols of spring such as chicks and rabbits. Eggs can be decorated or made of chocolate. Families have special Easter meals and celebrations. The central theme for Easter is the fact that Jesus died for our sins and is alive. "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again." ...read more.

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