Easter is observed on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox. Considered Christianity’s most important holy day, it celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Depending on which calendar a church follows, some will celebrate the holiday earlier than others.
Leading up to Easter Sunday is an entire season of observances beginning with Ash Wednesday, Lent’s official beginning. Lent is a time of fasting and reflection, which represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness for 40 days. Many know this as a time when Christians give something up for Lent.
Then during Holy Week, the Sunday before Easter is known as Palm Sunday. It commemorates Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem on a donkey just five days before the Romans crucified Him. Maundy Thursday remembers Jesus’s last supper; Good Friday is the day of the crucifixion; Holy Saturday is the period between the crucifixion and the resurrection; and Easter Sunday.
HOW TO OBSERVE #Easter
- Participate in any number of church services.
- Some churches conduct sunrise services.
- Dye eggs with children and have an Easter egg hunt.
- Local communities also hold annual egg hunts, so check your local social media, newspapers, and community listings for dates and times.
- Use #Easter to share on social media.
Before Easter (Pascha), Passover was the primary holy day celebrated; however, Christianity closely links the two holidays. Jesus’s last supper was a Passover meal. By the 2nd century, Orthodox Christians also celebrated Pascha alongside Passover as well as pagan spring festivals.
The Easter Bunny tradition comes from medieval Germany, where the Osterhase or Easter Hare would lay its colorful eggs in nests prepared by children. In the 18th-century, settling in the Dutch Pennsylvania countryside, immigrants brought this fable and tradition to the United States.
Dying eggs is a tradition that dates back thousands of years across many cultures. Eggs symbolize rebirth, fertility, and life springing forth. Today Easter egg hunts take place across the country. It is not unusual to see children in their Sunday best surrounding a giant Bunny. Many will also get their picture taken too!
Q. What happens to the palm leaves used during Palm Sunday services the week before Easter?
A. The palm leaves are usually burned to create ash for the following year’s Ash Wednesday traditions.
Q. What are some traditional Easter symbols?
A. Easter comes with many symbols. Some of them include:
- Eggs – Symbolizes new life and rebirth
- Lambs – Represents Jesus
- Easter Lilies – Symbolizes innocence, purity and peace
- Hot Cross Buns and Easter Breads – Represents Jesus, the bread of life
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