Easter, the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, is Christianity’s mot important holiday. It is called the moveable feast, because it doesn’t fall on a set date every year, as the other holiday’s do. Instead, Christian Churches celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox. Therefore, Easter is observed between March 22nd and April 25th every year.
The exact origins of this religious feast day name are unknown. Some sources claim the word Easter derived from Eostre, a Tuetonic goddess of spring and fertility. While, other accounts trace Easter to the Latin term hebdomada alba, or white week, which is an ancient reference to Easter week and the white clothing worn by the people who were being baptized during that time. Through a translation error, the term later appeared as esostarum in Old High German, which eventually became the word Easter in English. In Spanish, the word Easter is known as Pascua and in French as Paques. These words are derived from the Greek and Latin words Pascha or Pasch meaning Passover. Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection happened after he went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. That is when Pascha eventually came to Easter.
Easter is an entire season of the Christian church year, as opposed to a single day observance. Lent, which is the 40-day period leading up to Easter Sunday, is a time of reflection and penance. Those 40-days represent the days Jesus spent alone in the wilderness before starting his ministry, at a time in which Christians believe he survived various temptations by the devil. The day before lent starts is known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday and is the last hurrah of food and fun before the fasting begins. The week that proceeds Easter is known as Holy Week and includes Maundy Thursday, which commemorates Jesus’ last supper with his disciples. The Friday before Easter is know as Good Friday and honors the day of Jesus’ crucifixion. The Saturday before Easter is Holy Saturday and focuses on the transition between the crucifixion and resurrection. The 50-days following Easter Sunday are called Easter-tide and include a celebration of Jesus’ ascension
In addition to Easter’s religious significance, there is also a commercial side that is filled with mounds of jelly beans and marshmallow chicks, which appear in stores year after year during Easter time. Also, every year over 90 million chocolate Easter bunnies are made. Over the centuries various folk customs and pagan traditions like Easter eggs, bunnies, baskets and candy have become a standard part of the Easter holiday.