Even though Easter was originally a pagan ceremony, it is now a central part of Christian worship. Easter is a time when churches around the world ring out with Easter songs about the Resurrection of Christ. In fact, the Easter songs that date back to ancient times were a main source of inspiration for popular hymns that were composed and song much later.
Early Second Century Songs That Praised The Resurrection of Jesus.
There are Easter songs, dating back to the second century, that praised the Resurrection. From the fourth century, the magnificent Latin hymns relating to Easter were full of exaltation and were sung at the lighting of the Easter candle. A prevalent Easter song is a chant known as the “Exsultet” or the “Easter Proclamation,” which is still sung in Catholic, Anglican and various Lutheran and Methodist churches during Easter. Though its origins are uncertain, it has been attributed to Saint Jerome or to Saint Augustine.
In the eight century, Saint John Damascene (John of Damascus), composed beautiful hymns in honor of the Resurrection and these are found in present day liturgical services of the Greek Church. His most notable Easter song is “The Day of Resurrection” and is sung at midnight services of the Greek Orthodox Church.
There are also a great number of wonderful Easter songs that date to the Middle Ages and the German song “Let Us All Be Glad” appeared in a song book in 1568. Apart from the great number of Easter songs that are sung in individual countries, there are also those Easter songs that are sung among all nations of the world. From Chinese Christians to Portuguese to Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s beautiful Faust, there is great variety in the Easter song as sung by these various nationalities.