Spring is my favorite time of year – baby animals are born, the weather starts to get warmer, and (my favorite) the days start to get longer – who doesn’t love a longer day with sunlight?!? Let us not forget that the most important holiday also takes place in Spring, Easter!
During Easter, we celebrate new beginnings!!
Easter is the Christian holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his promise of eternal life.
Where did the Name Easter Come From?
Easter is also known as Pasch or Pascha. Some people believe the word Easter comes from the pagan holiday honoring Eostre the pagan goddess Spring which symbolized rebirth. Others believe the word Easter comes from the German word eostarun meaning dawn and white.
When is Easter Celebrated?
- celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon on the Spring Equinox between March 22nd and April 25th
- celebrated at the end of Lent on the last day of Holy Week. Holy Week starts off with Palm Sunday the following Good Thursday the day of the Last Supper, Good Friday the day of Jesus crucifixion, and Sunday the day Jesus rose which is now the celebration of Easter (40 days).
How is Easter Celebrated?
In the United States, we celebrate Easter in many different ways.
- Many people go to church, others attend different celebrations.
- Children often get a visit from the Easter Bunny and receive an Easter basket filled with candy, chocolates, toys, and more. Many children participate in Easter Egg hunts. During an Easter Egg Hunt, children search for hidden eggs with tiny candies, toys, or money inside. Sometimes real hard-boiled eggs are hidden for the children to find.
Where Does the Tradition of Coloring Easter Eggs Come From?
- Christian tradition of staining Easter Eggs started with the Christians of Mesopotamia. They would stain their eggs red to represent “the blood of Christ, at his crucifixion.” The egg later became a symbol of Jesus’s resurrection.
- Some Christians believe that cracking open an Easter egg symbolizes the empty tomb of Jesus.
- traditional word for painting Easter eggs is called pysanka.
- Exchanging painted eggs started in ancient civilizations with people such as the Egyptians and Persians. They would exchange eggs as a symbol of fertility and new life.
Symbolic meaning of Easter Lilies?
- Symbolic of purity and hope, Easter lilies are steeped in meaning in cultures around the world
- believed to have sprouted where Christ’s blood and tears fell during crucifixion, as well as in the Garden of Gethsemane after his betrayal.
Why a Rabbit for Easter?
- Rabbits and Hares were also symbols of fertility.
- Folklore: the Easter Bunny is a hare, not a rabbit, and lays eggs (real hares and rabbits do not lay eggs)
- The idea of the Easter Bunny originated in Germany.
- The Easter Bunny was brought to the US by German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania Dutch Country in the 1700s.
- Germans believed the Easter Bunny was a white hare that would leave colorful eggs for good girls and boys on Easter Morning.
- Girls and boys would wake up Easter morning and build nests out of sticks and leaves
- The first edible Easter Bunnies were made in Germany in the early 1800s