Easter, the spring holiday that marks the rebirth of Jesus within Christian faith -- not to mention an observed federal holiday in the United States -- will be celebrated this year on Sunday, March 31, 2013. Greek/Orthodox Easter will be celebrated one month later on Sunday, May 5, 2013.
Reuters Easter Sunday 2013, which falls on an early date in March, marks a special time this year with the newly elected Pope Francis for Christians.
Easter Sunday 2013, which falls on an early date in March, marks a special time this year with the newly elected Pope Francis for Christians.
The Easter holiday, which is typically not observed on the same date each year, changes depending on the moon. Each year, it is celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon after the Paschal equinox around March 21. Typically, its Sunday date coincides with the end of Lent between March 22 and April 25, as the holiday marks the end of the 30-day period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline in Christianity.
This Easter marks a special year as the first holiday to be celebrated with Pope Francis, the newly elected head of the Roman Catholic Church. As the 265th Successor of Peter, Pope Francis will begin the celebration for Easter with mass on “Holy Thursday,” as it is called in Christian tradition, by washing the feet of prisoners in a youth detention center in Rome. According to BBC, this pre-Easter practice began when Pope Francis was the archbishop of Buenos Aires in his native-Argentina in a tradition that dates back to the time of Christ. According to teachings, the pope shall wash and kiss the feet of 12 people to replicate Jesus Christ’s humility toward the 12 apostles the night before he was crucified as homage to the story in the Bible.
This year, Pope Francis will host his feet-washing ceremony at Casal del Marmo as well as mass on Holy Thursday in St. Peter’s Basilica.
"With this celebration at Casal del Marmo, Pope Francis will continue this custom, which is characterised by its humble context," a statement from the Vatican said.
Easter is one of the most important holidays for those who practice the Christian faith, as it marks the end of lent and celebrates Jesus Christ's resurrection. Christians attend church services on Easter Sunday, which it is typically called. According to the Christian Scripture, Jesus came back to life three days after his death on the cross. Good Friday marks the crucifixion of Jesus, three days before Easter. In the bible, the meaning of Easter is found in the following passages of Scripture: Matthew 27:27-28:8; Mark 15:16-16:19; Luke 23:26-24:35; and John 19:16-20:30, according to About.com.
The name Easter was arguably taken from either Eostre, a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, or hebdomada alba, which means white week in Latin, according to History.com.
Aside from religion, Easter is also celebrated commercially, with bunnies, chocolate, marshmallow chicks, colored eggs and baskets for children as a standard for the celebration.
In the United States, by tradition, the President joins in the celebration of Easter with an annual Easter Egg Roll held at the White House. This year, President Barack Obama and family will host the 135-year tradition on the Monday after Easter, or Easter Monday as it is called.
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