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April Holidays in America
Since 1955, April 15 has been the designated federal income tax return deadline date, but if April 15 happens to land on a Saturday or a Sunday or on Emancipation Day, or actually any other holiday for that matter, then tax returns are not due until the following business day. This year, 2012, April 15th is on a Sunday, so we happily get until April 16 to file our taxes this year.
The two largest American religious holidays in April are Easter and Passover which always occur near the same time. Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead which is the Christian's deliverance from sin. Passover commemorates Isreal's being spared from the destroying angel, resulting in the Jews being delivered from bondage and servitude. These two are extremely important celebrations for the two religions.
The Jewish holiday of Pesach (Passover) is an 8-day time of family gatherings and lavish meals which are called "seders." Through the reading of the Haggadah, the story of Passover is retold to the children, family members and guests who are present. The Haggadah is a special text written many years ago that sets forth the order of the Passover Seder and is a fulfillment of the Scriptural commandment to each Jew to "tell your son" of the liberation from slavery in Egypt as described in the Book of Exodus in the Torah.
The date that Passover is celebrated changes each year. It is actually based on the Jewish calendar and always falls on the 15th day of Nissan, which, in the year 2012, is April the 7th. Since the Jewish day begins at sundown rather than sunrise the first night of Passover in 2012 will be Friday April the 6th.
The Christian celebration of Easter also has many days associated with it. The first being Palm Sunday which fell on April 1, 2012. This commemorated Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem on a donkey. "Palm" refers to the palms that the people laid down in his path as a way to honor him. The symbolism of the donkey is an Eastern tradition that says that a donkey is an animal of peace, versus a horse being an animal of war. If a king arrived on a horse he was bent on war, but if he came on a donkey he was pointing out that he came in peace. Jesus entry into Jerusalem on a donkey depicted his entry as the Prince of Peace.
The next day of import is Good Friday which is also called Great Friday or Holy Friday which falls on Friday April the 6th in 2012. This is the day that the crucifixion of Jesus and his death on the cross at Calvary is remembered and mourned. Many Christian churches have their own traditions for this particular day, but it is always marked and remembered with special services. For Eastern Orthodox churches this is a day of fasting. In Catholicism it is called The Passion of the Christ for it was on this day that he suffered and died.
In 2012, Easter falls on Sunday April the 8th and is the central feast in the Christian liturgical calendar. As recorded in the Canonical gospels of the Bible, Jesus rose from the dead giving new life to all Christian believers on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Sunday which may also be called Resurrection Sunday. It is variously interpreted that this occurred between AD 26 and 36.
Easter marks the end of Lent which is a 40-day time of fasting, prayer, and penance for many Christians. The last week of Lent is called "Holy Week" and contains all the Easter celebrations previously mentioned. Easter is followed by a 55-day period called Eastertide or the Easter Season and ends with Pentecost Sunday.
Wednesday April 25th is Administrative Professionals' Day (formerly known as Secretary's Day) and is meant to be a day to show appreciation for the hard work of administrative employees. It is common to bring flowers or candy to work that day. Some bosses take their staff to lunch or order pizza for the crew. Don't miss out on a time to cement and recognize good working relationships where ever they may be.