Campbellsville University Hears Different Perspectives of Easter Celebrations from Around the World During Chapel

By Meredith Coffey, student news writer

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky.—Have you ever wondered how Easter is celebrated in different countries?

Campbellsville University students, faculty and staff learned about Easter in Kenya, Brazil, Nigeria, Korea, and in New York in the United States at chapel March 19 during a Holy Week Service.

Dr. Japheth Jaoka, assistant professor of social work who is from Kenya, said Easter is a time of joy; however, it is also a time of sadness.

“In Kenya, when you recognize someone’s death, it is a celebration. Easter is sad because we lost Jesus, but it is also time to celebrate. Christ was resurrected, so we celebrate” said Jaoka.

Easter eggs, loved by adults and children, are colorfully wrapped and available in the supermarkets in Brazil according to Dr. Tony Cunha, assistant professor of music. He said Easter is celebrated very similarly to the United States.

Easter in Brazil in influenced strongly by the Catholic faith. The majority practice lent, have a celebration known as “carnival,” and lead processions the weekend before Easter.

“Many people in Brazil do not understand the true meaning of Easter and it is our job as Christians to relay this message” said Cunha.

“In Nigeria, food is a big part of the Easter celebration,” said Dr. Sunny Onyiri, assistant professor of business and economics at CU. The celebration begins at church and is carried over to their individual homes, where they partake in Easter dinner. “We celebrate just like any other nation and observe Easter like everyone else, except there are no Easter eggs or bunnies. It is celebrated for what it is supposed to be, with no commercialization.” said Onyiri.

Wan Soo Cho, of South Korea, said in Korea Easter is not a national holiday. “Only 20 percent are Christian, but I hope one day that Easter will be recognized as a national holiday” said Cho, assistant conductor of the University Orchestra. The rituals that take place are in different churches in which they prepare the Easter eggs and the meaning behind the Easter egg is that “no life is visible, but there is life, much like Jesus” says Cho.

Casey Bradstreet, of Bath, New York, said she never had an Easter basket growing up, but she had a special friend who taught her the real meaning of Easter. “When I was 7, I looked up to a grandmother figure in my church, Grandma Margie. I went to her house and read Bible verses and went to the “old folks home” to give baked goods to them,” said Bradstreet.

Despite the fact that Grandma Margie is not really Bradstreet’s biological grandmother, Bradstreet said that “she was close enough to a grandmother” and that “she loved me and she didn’t have to.”

“She passed away a few days before Easter Sunday when I was 10,” said

Bradstreet. On that Easter Sunday, while walking into church, Bradstreet saw Grandma Margie’s son and he said that his mother is no longer in pain and that she is in Heaven now. “I remember feeling the joy of him” said Bradstreet. She claims that this is her best memory of Easter Sunday. “We will all be able to be with her on Easter Sunday, I don’t know when, but we all will be eventually, and this brings great joy to me.”

The devotion was given by Dr. Jarvis Williams, assistant professor of New Testament and Greek at Campbellsville University. Williams referred to Romans 3: 21- 26 in which he said God offered Jesus because of our previous sin. As his message to believers, Williams said, “When I woke up this morning, I didn’t feel saved, but even when we don’t feel saved, we are saved.” To non believers, he said, you can be saved today because God gave his son to die for our sins.

In closing, Williams asked, “What is the biblical perspective of Easter?” He then explained that it is eternal life, blood, sin and resurrection, not simply chocolate eggs and bunnies.

Dr. John Hurtgen, dean of the School of Theology, provided the closing comments for chapel. “Easter is about forgiveness and new life,” said Hurtgen. Music during chapel was provided by New Doxology, a group of CU students directed by Cunha.

Members of the University Chorale sang a choral anthem. They are directed by Dr. Frieda Gebert, associate professor of music (vocal/choral). An organ prelude began the program; Nevalyn Moore, assistant professor of music and university organist, played that composition.

Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,405 students who represent 98 Kentucky counties, 25 states and 29 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2008 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South and eighth in the South for “Great Schools, Great Prices.” CU has been ranked 15 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his ninth year as president.

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