Updated: Jun 7, 2020
By J. Isaac Noel Benjamin, II,
For millions around the world, Easter 2020 was unlike any other in recent memory. Christians and non-Christians marked this Good Friday in isolation. One thing is certain, the coronavirus is an equal opportunity virus. It has attacked everyone young, old, wealthy or poor. We are all in this together.
The ancient pagan origins of Easter Sunday is a festival and holiday celebrated by millions of people around the world who honor the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred three days after his crucifixion at Calvary. The origins of Easter customs The most widely-practiced customs on Easter Sunday relate to the symbol of the rabbit (‘Easter bunny’) and the egg.
Why does Easter change every year? Easter changing every year comes down to a decision that was made after the inception of Christianity. In 325AD the Council of Nicaea decided that Easter would fall on the first Sunday after the full moon on or after the vernal equinox, the time of year when the Sun crosses the celestial equator going north.
The earliest recorded observance of an Easter celebration comes from the 2nd century, though the commemoration of Jesus’ Resurrection probably occurred earlier. The English word Easter, which parallels the German word Ostern, is of uncertain origin.
The earliest and latest Easter dates according to the Metonic cycle occur when the Paschal Full Moon falls on a recurring sequence of 19 dates ranging from March 21 to April 18. Since Easter happens on the Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon, it can fall on any date between March 22 and April 25 (years 1753-2400).
The earliest Easter ever recorded in the Gregorian calendar from 1753 onwards was on March 22, both in 1761 and 1818. The next time Easter occurred on March 23 will not be until 2160, and a March 22 Easter will not happen until the year 2285.
The New Testament states that the resurrection of Jesus, which Easter celebrates, is one of the chief tenets of the Christian faith. The resurrection established Jesus as the Son of God and is cited as proof that God will righteously judge the world. For those who trust in Jesus' death and resurrection, "death is swallowed up in victory." Any person who chooses to follow Jesus receives "a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead". Through faith in the working of God.
Easter, also called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day after his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.
Christians celebrate Easter because it marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ after He was crucified on Good Friday, based on New Testament accounts. The previous day, Maundy Thursday, is a commemoration of Jesus' Last Supper with His Apostles.
The exact origins of the Easter Bunny tradition are unknown, although some historians believe it arrived in America with German immigrants in the 1700s. Rabbits are, in many cultures, known as enthusiastic procreators, so the arrival of baby bunnies in springtime meadows became associated with birth and renewal.
Present day, the coronavirus has had a significant impact on how we celebrate Easter. Easter Sunday, held on Sunday April 12, 2020, would traditionally be a big get together for church goers. However, it has been put on hold.
On the local front, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed and Executive “Stay-at-home” order (EO 2020-21) in an effort to preserve human lives. The current executive order has been extended until April 30, 2020.
Nationally, Michigan ranks third in reported COVID-19 cases. To date, there have been 22,783 reported cases, 1,281 deaths and five recoveries. Nationally to date, there has been 504, 780 reported cases, 18, 763 deaths and 28, 993 have recovered from COVID-19.
The global death toll from the coronavirus now tops 100,000 (102, 136), and more than 1.6 million (1,684,833) COVID-19 cases have been confirmed worldwide, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The United States is reporting more deaths than any other nation – over 17,800 – except for Italy. Globally, 375,499 people have died from COVID-19.
There are encouraging signs, though, that two hard-hit states are starting to turn a corner in their virus fight. The number of people being hospitalized with COVID-19 in New York and California is falling.
The U.S. is showing signs that the curve of coronavirus cases is beginning to level off, members of the Coronavirus Task Force said recently. They also cautioned that are far from done. The rallying cry is
“Stay apart, stay alive!”