It is certainly the oldest and most important annual festival of the church, and can be traced back to the first century, or at all events to the middle of the second, when it was universally observed, though with a difference as to the day, and the extent of the fast connected with it.2 It appears clear from the earliest writings of the church fathers that the Resurrection was almost universally celebrated by the church.
There were, however, differences in the manner and date of the celebrations.
AD 114–128), there was a difference in the date of the celebration.4 The Western Church tradition, even as early as AD 150 according to the account of Polycarp above, was to break the fast on the Sunday following the Jewish Passover since this was the day of the week Christ rose from the tomb.5 This was the dominant view in the church at this point and found its support in the fact that the celebration was in observance of the Resurrection.
Since Christ rose from the tomb on Sunday (), the fast was broken and the celebratory feast began on Sunday.
You may have heard the claim that Christians should not celebrate Easter because of its origins.
Many believe that what we call Easter today was developed as Roman Catholicism co-opted pagan festivals celebrated in different regions in honor of various false gods and goddesses.
To take these scholars at their word seems charitable, but I question the wisdom of such wholesale abandonment of a celebration that is at the very heart of the Christian community and faith.
Without His renewal to life after lying dead in the tomb, it could not be said Christ has conquered death. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.
These ideas are confirmed by the writings of the Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Corinthian church: Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!
For those who claim the celebration of Easter was assigned by Constantine as an accommodation of pagan practices, they must contend with the records of Irenaeus and others.
However, at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325, the issue was finally settled by the church as a whole.