Lutheran Church Year
Dates of "Ostersonntag" (Easter Sunday, 1st Day of Easter)
Easter is the most important annual religious feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to Christian scripture, Jesus was resurrected from the dead on the 3rd day after his crucifixion. Some Christians celebrate this resurrection on Easter Day or Easter Sunday (also Resurrection Day or Resurrection Sunday), 2 days after Good Friday and three days after Maundy Thursday. The chronology of his death and resurrection is variously interpreted to be between AD 26 and AD 36. Easter also refers to the season of the church year called Eastertide or the Easter Season. Traditionally the Easter Season lasted for the 40 days from Easter Day until Ascension Day but now officially lasts for the 50 days until Pentecost. The first week of the Easter Season is known as Easter Week or the Octave of Easter. Easter also marks the end of Lent, a season of fasting, prayer, and penance.
Easter is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the vernal equinox. Ecclesiastically, the equinox is reckoned to be on March 21 (regardless of the astronomically correct date), and the "Full Moon" is not necessarily the astronomically correct date. The date of Easter therefore varies between March 22 and April 25. Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian Calendar whose March 21 corresponds, during the twenty-first century, to April 3 in the Gregorian Calendar, in which calendar their celebration of Easter therefore varies between April 4 and May 8.
Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover not only for much of its symbolism but also for its position in the calendar. In most European languages the feast called Easter in English is termed by the words for passover in those languages and in the older English versions of the Bible the term Easter was the term used to translate passover.
Readings: Epistle: 1 Corinthians 5: 6-8; Gospel: Markus 16: 1-8
Musical Context of Bach Cantatas: Motets & Chorales for Easter
Dates in the Lifetime of J.S. Bach
All dates are in ISO 8601 format: YYYY-MM-DD.
Abbreviations of German weekdays: Sonntag, Montag, Dienstag, Mittwoch, Donnerstag, Freitag, Samstag.
1715-04-21 So - Cantata BWV 31 Der Himmel lacht! Die Erde jubilieret (1st performance, Weimar)
1724-04-09 So - Cantata BWV 31 Der Himmel lacht! Die Erde jubilieret (2nd performance, Leipzig) + Cantata BWV 4 Christ lag in Todesbanden (2nd performance, Leipzig)
1725-04-01 So - Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 Kommt, eilet und laufet (1st performance, Leipzig) + Cantata BWV 4 Christ lag in Todesbanden (3rd performance, Leipzig) + G.P. Telemann: Cantata Der Herr ist König, TWV 8:6 (1st performance, Leipzig) (?)
1726-04-21 So - J.L. Bach: Cantata BWV 15 Denn du wirst meine Seele (1st performance, Leipzig)
1731-03-25 So - Cantata BWV 31 Der Himmel lacht! Die Erde jubilieret (3rd performance, Leipzig)
1738-04-06 So - Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 Kommt, eilet und laufet (2nd performance, Leipzig) (?)
1742-03-25 So Mariä Verkündigung
1749-04-06 So - Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 Kommt, eilet und laufet (4th performance, Leipzig)
Vocal works with no definite date
(1707-1708?) - Cantata BWV 4 Christ lag in Todesbanden (1st performance, Mühlhausen)
(1743-1746) - Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 Kommt, eilet und laufet (3rd performance, Leipzig)
(?) - G.P. Telemann: Cantata BWV 160 Ich weiß, daß mein Erloser lebt (not known if performed by J.S. Bach)
Sundays and Holidays in the Lifetime of J.S. Bach
Prepared by Dr. Georg Fischer (April 2007), Aryeh Oron (March 2010)
Contributed by Dr. Georg Fischer (March 2010)
Please direct any questions or comments to: Dr. Georg Fischer