Everything You Need To Know About Easter
When is it?
Easter is a public holiday and the exact date varies each year. It is celebrated yearly between the 22nd of March and the 25th of April. It is determined by the Gregorian calendar (solar calendar) and it usually falls on the first Sunday following the full moon after the 21st of March. In 2017, Easter was celebrated on the 16th of April.
On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ which also marks the end of Lent. As well as the resurrection of Christ, Christians also celebrate the Last Supper (the last meal that Jesus had with his apostles) and the passions of Christ (the events that coincided with his crucifixion).
In the old testament long before Jesus' time, Easter was celebrated by Jews. For centuries Hebrews were slaves in Egypt, they were liberated by Moses and they fled Israel. This exodus was a symbol of freedom for the children of Israel and it is the basis of the Jewish Easter. Besides Easter's religious origins, it also has older roots in the Pagan religion in which they celebrate spring and renewal after the long winter months.
Easter is the most solemn festival in the Catholic Church. The week preceding Easter is called Holy Week, throughout this week Christians have traditions that are symbolic of each of the stages that Jesus endured before his crucifixion.
Christians gather together at Church on Holy Thursday to celebrate Jesus' last meal, the following day is Good Friday, on which Jesus' journey carrying the cross is remembered. On Holy Saturday they come together through the Easter vigil to morn the death of Christ before gathering together on the morning of Easter Sunday to celebrate his resurrection. The Easter meal varies between cultures, in France, the UK, and Germany it is traditional to eat lamb whereas in the United States ham is a traditional Easter food.
The most widespread Easter tradition throughout the world is that of Easter eggs. They join together the many differences surrounding this festival as they date back to ancient times. Eggs are a symbol of fertility, in the UK and US they are carried by the Easter Rabbit whereas in France and Belgium they are, according to legend, carried inside bells.
In many countries, Easter eggs are at the heart of the tradition. They are usually decorated and offered to one another during the Easter period. They are also the holy grail of traditional Children's Easter egg hunts and many children and adults alike cannot wait for Easter to eat all the delicious chocolate Easter eggs!