Easter Origin, Facts, And Date | What Is Easter Day: On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. It is typically the most well-attended Sunday service of the year for Christian churches. It’s that time of year when many people’s thoughts turn to chocolate, egg hunts, bunnies and the resurrection. And for many, the first bank holiday weekend of the year – with four straight days off work – will also be appealing.
The Easter festival culminates in the celebration that is Easter Sunday. This is a time when most of us get together with our families for a meal … and usually, includes an Easter egg hunt for the kids. But the significance of Easter Sunday – and Holy Week which leads up to this date – might not be something your children know much about. Not only that, they might have questions about where the tradition for Easter eggs – and the Easter bunny – comes from. We’ve got all the answers you need …
This is the culmination of Holy Week and is a day of huge celebration in the Christian calendar. It commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ making it the most important Christian festival.
After Jesus was crucified his body was buried in a cave with a huge stone put over the entrance. Yet the following Sunday, the stone had been moved and the tomb was empty. Jesus was then seen that day – and for days afterward.
As such, his followers celebrated the fact he had been raised from the dead. Today, churches are filled with flowers to mark the celebration and there are special hymns and songs.
When Is Easter Sunday?
Easter is a “movable feast” and does not have a fixed date, however, it is always on a Sunday.
(Today’s Gregorian calendar)
|Eastern Orthodox Church
(From the Julian calendar)
|2017||April 16||April 16|
|2018||April 1||April 8|
|2019||April 21||April 28|
See Also: Happy Easter Greetings 2017
Why does the date for Easter change every year?
Easter is a Christian feast day – which are significant days in the life of Jesus Christ or saints. But unlike most days in the Christian calendar, Easter does not have a fixed date. Easter feast days are moveable days, in that they don’t fall on a fixed date in the normal Gregorian or Julian calendars, which follow the cycle of the sun.
Easter instead is determined by the lunar calendar, which is based on the phases of the moon. Easter is scheduled to fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox around April 16.
The Spring, or March, Vernal Equinox is the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north.
Who decided when Easter should fall?
A council of Christian bishops was convened by Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325, the First Council of Nicea, which was Christianity’s first effort to get a consensus on what the church taught.
It was decided at this council that Easter Day should fall on the first full moon after the Spring Equinox and that it should always fall on a Sunday to represent the day of Christ’s Resurrection.
Where Did the Word “Easter” Come From?
The origin of the word “Easter” is unclear.
It may have derived its name from the Anglo-Saxon dawn goddess Eostre, whose feast was celebrated each spring at about this time.
Or, it may have derived from words meaning “rising,” “dawn,” or “east.”
See Also: Easter Day Images And Wishes
The origins of Easter Day
Here are some interesting facts about the popular symbols and activities associated with Easter …
The Easter Bunny
Rabbits are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. Yet how they became such a symbol of Easter is not entirely clear. There are lots of theories on where the Easter bunny came from. One is that in Germany, they used to bury painted eggs for treasure hunts. Because hares were often seen at this time of year, it was said the hares hid the eggs for the children to find. Whatever its origin, the Easter bunny plays a huge part in our celebrations today.
Chocolate Easter eggs
Eggs have long been seen as an important fertility symbol, associated with new life. From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and his resurrection. The exact reason for decorating eggs is not known, but one theory is that eating eggs is not allowed during Lent. As such, people would decorate them to eat at Easter as a celebration. The first chocolate eggs began to appear in the early 1800s.
The tradition of egg rolling on Easter Monday isn’t thought to have a religious meaning. Yet some think it’s a symbolic re-enactment of the rolling away of the stone from Christ’s tomb. The most famous egg rolling event is at the White House where children push decorated hard-boiled eggs across the lawn.
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