Easter is a Christian holiday that celebrates the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the New Testament of the Bible, the event is said to have occurred three days after Jesus was crucified by the Romans and died in roughly 30 A.D. The holiday concludes the “Passion of Christ,” a series of events and holidays that begins with Lent—a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, sacrifices, and ends with Holy Week. Easter 2021 occurred on Sunday, April 17. However, Easter falls on a different date each year.
The story behind Easter is present in the New Testament of the Bible which narrates how Jesus was arrested by the Roman authorities because he claimed to be the “Son of God”. He was then sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate, the Roman emperor by crucifixion. His resurrection three days later marks the occasion of Easter. This day is also closely associated with the Jewish festival of Passover.
Easter Customs and Traditions:
Easter, like Christmas, has accumulated a great many traditions, some of which have little to do with the Christian celebration of the Resurrection but derive from folk customs. Easter is celebrated as a joyous occasion and the Sunday prior is called Palm Sunday which marks the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem. Various churches begin the celebration in the late hours of Saturday through a religious service called Easter Vigil.
Easter is a religious holiday, but some of its customs, such as Easter Eggs, are likely linked to pagan traditions. The egg itself became a symbol of the Resurrection. Just as Jesus rose from the tomb, the egg symbolizes new life emerging from the eggshell. In the Orthodox tradition eggs are painted red to symbolize the blood Jesus shed on the cross. Since its origins, Easter has been a time of celebration, feasting, many traditional games and customs developed, such as egg rolling, egg tapping, pace egging, cascarones or confetti eggs, and egg decorating.
The Bible makes no mention of a long-eared, short-tailed creature who delivers decorated eggs to well-behaved children on Easter Sunday; nevertheless, the Easter bunny has become a prominent symbol of Christianity’s most important holiday. The exact origins of this mythical mammal are unclear, but rabbits, known to be prolific procreators, are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. In some European countries, however, other animals—in Switzerland the cuckoo, in Westphalia the fox, brought the Easter eggs.
Easter is the second best-selling candy holiday in America after Halloween. Among the most popular sweet treats associated with this day are chocolate eggs, which date back to early 19th century Europe. Eggs have long been associated with Easter as a symbol of new life and Jesus’ resurrection. Another egg-shaped candy, the jelly bean, became associated with Easter in the 1930s.
The Easter Parade tradition dates back to the mid-1800s in New York City, when the upper crust of society would attend Easter services at various Fifth Avenue churches then stroll outside afterward, showing off their new spring outfits and hats. Average citizens started showing up along Fifth Avenue to check out the action. The tradition reached its peak by the mid-20th century, and Participants often sport elaborately decorated bonnets and hats.
Lamb is a traditional Easter food. Christians refer to Jesus as the “Lamb of God,” though lamb at Easter also has roots in early Passover celebrations. In the story of Exodus, the people of Egypt suffered a series of terrible plagues, including the death of all firstborn sons. Members of the Jewish faith painted their doorposts with sacrificed lamb’s blood so that God would “pass over” their homes. Jews who converted to Christianity continued the tradition of eating lamb at Easter. Historically, the lamb would have been one of the first fresh meats available after a long winter with no livestock to slaughter.