“Jesus’ resurrection is an affirmation of the truth that light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” – Bishop Robert Deeley
The season of Easter is the most important of all liturgical times, when Catholics rejoice in the Lord's resurrection. Easter celebrates that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to Mary of Magdala, who witnessed her vision to the apostles; Peter and John ran to the empty tomb; they saw and believed.
The feast of Easter is at the heart of the Christian faith. It is a celebration of Christ’s victory over sin and death. Our faith flows from our belief in the resurrection. As St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “If Christ has not been raised, then empty [too] is our preaching; empty, too your faith…For, if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 14, 16-17).
A Season of Celebration
Such is the importance of Easter to Catholics that the celebration doesn’t last a day but a season. The first eight days, known as the Octave of Easter, beginning on Easter Sunday and concluding on Divine Mercy Sunday, are considered one continuous celebration and a time of feasting.
Forty days after Easter, we celebrate Christ’s ascension to the Father, the culmination of the Paschal Mystery. Then, 10 days after that, the Easter season concludes on Pentecost Sunday, a celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit.
How is the date for Easter chosen?
The Council of Nicaea decreed in the year 325 that Easter should be observed on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox. (March 20/21). Easter, therefore, can fall on any Sunday between March 22 and April 25.
Where does the word “Easter” originate?
The word "Easter" comes from Old English, meaning simply the "East." The sun which rises in the East, bringing light, warmth, and hope, is a symbol for the Christian of the rising Christ, who is the true Light of the world.