Easter is the greatest holiday for Christians. It is always celebrated on Sunday, thus means it is a movable holiday and it needs to be calculated for every year specifically. They celebrate It on first Sunday after first full moon after the first vernal equinox. It is an oldest Christian holiday.
What exactly we celebrate on Easter Sunday? Well, for Christian it’s a resurrection of Jesus, which according to Bible happened three days after his crucifixion. So Easter Sunday is often called Resurrection Sunday as well.
While several religions teach about the afterlife, Jesus’ rise from the dead presents one of the most important beliefs among Christians. Everybody knows the story of his crucifixion, death, and burial, but this was not the end. It was actually a beginning of new, even richer life, given after god raised him from the tomb.
Jesus stayed among people for 40 more days before he joined god in heaven, the ultimate goal for every Christian. But let’s focus on Easter only. This holiday is very similar to Jewish Passover, another movable celebration fixed on full moon nearest to the spring equinox.
There are many Easter customs, probably most known is decorating Easter eggs. The less known fact is most of the customs have pagan origins and are closely related to fertility. Having Easter in spring when everything grows, this is no surprise at all.
When is Easter?
It can fall any date from March 22 and April 25.
In 2012 it was on April 6.
In 2013 it was on March 31.
In 2014 it was on April 20.
In 2015 it was on April 5.
In 2016 it was on March 27.
In 2017 it will be on April 16.
In 2018 it will be on April 1.
In 2019 it will be on April 21.
In 2020 it will be on April 12.
Easter Bunny around the world
Easter is related to a feast which on the other hand is related to fertility and fertility is associated with eggs. Egg rolling, egg coloring or egg search can be found in different countries and in different versions.
Another interesting Easter symbol is Easter Bunny (sometimes Rabbit or Hare) which is also associated with fertility. After long winter we all wish for abundance and seeing the nature waking up we can afford to serve the best food we can find in our storages.
In Slovenia, for instance, people prepare food basket full of colored eggs (called pirhi), ham and very reach cake made of yeast dough with nuts (called potica), so Easter is one of the most popular holidays among non-Christians too!
Christian symbols on Easter
A lot of European countries relate food eaten on Easter Sunday with Jesus Christ.
Lamb is a symbolic body of Jesus, who was also called God's Lamb. In some countries they use another sort of meat instead of lamb. In Slovenia it is ham. In Egypt fesukh (fermented fish dish). In Poland it is soldra (special bread stuffed with meat, in most cases sausage). In Greece it is flaouna (cheese stuffed pasty with resins).
Colored eggs, traditionally colored red, represent the blood of Jesus.
Pretzels are related to arms crossed in prayer because of their twisted shape.
Horseradish reminds us of nails with which they nailed Jesus.
Easter bonnet is a representation of old custom of wearing new clothes on Easter, both symbolizing new beginnings roughly coinciding with the beginning of spring.
White lilies are often called Easter flowers because they symbolize resurrection.
And so on and on...
Fast facts about Easter
- Easter very likely got its name after the Germanic goddess Eostre, one of the several so-called dawn-goddesses. She is (especially in Northern Europe) closely related to rabbits and hares, and there are several stories about the creation of the world starting with a giant egg, what connects the goddess of dawn, a new beginning, with eggs too.
- Not all Christians celebrate Easter at the same time. The reason is simple: in East the Julian calendar and in the West Gregorian was used to calculate the date of Easter. While Gregorian calendar dominates today, important dates like Christmas or Easter are still fixed on the base of the old calendar in several parts of the world.
- Not only Easter, a so-called Good Friday (aka Holy Friday, Great Friday or Black Friday), the Friday before Easter Sunday, is an official state holiday in about a dozen of American states. In Canada, it’s a federal holiday. It is also a holiday in Cuba, Ireland, Malta, Philippines and the United Kingdom, mostly celebrated by street processions and different performances.
- Already mentioned eggs are not necessarily real ones. In recent years millions and millions of chocolate eggs are sold. Did you know first chocolate egg was made in 1873 in the UK? Easter is the second biggest candy-eating holiday in the USA (right after Halloween). Or – do you know that about half of states in the USA banned the practice of dyeing eggs for health reasons.
- In 2007 an egg made of gold and enamel, covered with diamonds, called Rothschild Faberge Egg was sold at Christie’s for more than 16 million dollars. There were about 50 Faberge eggs made, all as Easter gifts to members of Russian royalty, but only three are known by included clock mechanism and this one is the most impressive one – with around 15 seconds long performance of little mechanical cock at every full hour.