Easter Island is, perhaps obviously, an island. It's a Polynesian — from the Latin, poly (many) + nesian (hula dancers) — island in the Pacific ocean, lying some 3,500 kilometres off the coast of Chile, a country claiming it as a special territory. Chile's claim, made in the late 19th century, seems to have been motivated largely by sheep, something I'm certain only a Chilean can fully explain or appreciate.
Easter Island was named Easter Island by Jacob Roggeveen, a Dutch explorer who was actually looking for another island but somehow landed there and, being European, assumed the island, although inhabited, was both unknown and unnamed and certainly ripe for the taking. He named it Easter Island because he landed there on Easter Sunday in 1722... not that you, or I, care.
Easter, on the other hand, is the religious holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, son of God and the man after whom the exclamation — Jesus Christ! — was named. The resurrection of Jesus is the Christian belief that he miraculously came back to life on the Sunday following the Friday of his crucifixion, an event after which the exclamation — Christ on a cross! — was coined. And just so those of you firmly rooted in popular culture understand, this has absolutely nothing to do with zombies.
The resurrection of Jesus is a central tenet of the Christian faith. Without going into too much detail — a ship some of you may think has already sailed — the Romans, who brooked no rebellion, crucified Jesus on a Friday. Weirdly, it's come to be known as Good Friday although I'm sure most of the people siding with Jesus' rebellion wouldn't have thought of it as being particularly good at the time.
But to move this story along, his body was buried in a tomb and three days later God raised him from the dead. Even back in that day people might have had trouble believing this except for the fact that Jesus, formerly dead, appeared to many people over a span of 40 days before ascending to Heaven to sit at the right hand of God.
So far, so good. Crucifixion on Good Friday; resurrection on Easter Sunday, though, of course, they weren't called that then, just Friday and Sunday, but in Latin.
In the intervening centuries, various religious bodies held sometimes heated meetings to formally establish the rules around when to celebrate Good Friday and Easter Sunday. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which being various religious sects just seem to like to argue among themselves.
At the heart of the matter though is the whole Friday-Sunday conundrum. While the crucifixion and resurrection happened on specific dates — largely lost to antiquity since no one still uses the calendar being used at that time owing, naturally, to the whole B.C/A.D. thing which couldn't have happened to begin with until the unfortunate events of Good Friday — the religious holidays of Good Friday and Easter Sunday have to happen, by definition, on Friday and Sunday. They can't, for example, happen on April 1st and 3rd or 15th and 17th since those dates could easily fall on, say, Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Friday. Still with me?
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