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Last edited at 7:03PM on 2/15/2013
Easter's ascendancy as a festival thus was not Bible based. In fact, scholars claim that the very word Easter is of Anglo-Saxon origin, referring to the springtime. During that season, the ancients thought the sun was reborn after months of winter death. Other terms for the festival, such as paques or pasqua, are derived from the ancient Hebrew word pe'sach, or 'passover.' Christendom argues that Easter replaces this Jewish festival. But this ignores the fact that Jesus replaced the Passover, not with Easter, but with his memorial supper. (Luke 22:1-19) Catholic priest FrancisX. Weiser admitted: "Some of the popular traditions of Lent and Easter date back to ancient nature rites." These rites of spring were originally designed to "frighten the demons of winter away." Curiosities of Popular Customs explains: "It was the invariable policy of the early Church to give a Christian significance to such of the extant pagan ceremonies as could not be rooted out. In the case of Easter the... joy at the rising of the natural sun, and the awakening of nature from the death of winter, became joy at the rising of the Sun of righteousness, at the resurrection of Christ from the grave."
The Council of A.D. 325 set the date of Easter as the Sunday following the paschal full moon, which is the full moon that falls on or after the spring equinox. We know that Easter must always occur on a Sunday, because Sunday was the day of Christ's Resurrection. The Church does not use the exact date of the paschal full moon but an approximation, because the paschal full moon can fall on different days in different time zones, which would mean that the date of Easter would be different depending on which time zone you live in. For calculation purposes, the full moon is always set at the 14th day of the lunar month (the lunar month begins with the new moon).