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The History Of Easter
by Brenda Arnold
easter celebrates the resurrection of ChristEaster, which celebrates Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead, is Christianity's most important holiday. It has been called a moveable feast because it doesn't fall on a set date every year, as most holidays do. Instead, Christian churches in the West celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21. Therefore, Easter is observed anywhere between March 22 and April 25 every year. Orthodox Christians use the Julian calendar to calculate when Easter will occur and typically celebrate the holiday a week or two after the Western churches, which follow the Gregorian calendar.

The exact origins of this religious feast day's name are unknown. Some sources claim the word Easter is derived from Eostre, a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility. Other accounts trace Easter to the Latin term hebdomada alba, or white week, an ancient reference to Easter week and the white clothing donned by people who were baptized during that time. Through a translation error, the term later appeared as esostarum in Old High German, which eventually became Easter in English. In Spanish, Easter is known as Pascua; in French, Paques. These words are derived from the GFree k and Latin Pascha or Pasch, for Passover. Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection occurred after he went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover (or Pesach in Hebrew), the Jewish festival commemorating the ancient Israelites' exodus from slavery in Egypt. Pascha eventually came to mean Easter.

There are a variety of ways to celebrate Easter and various emphases that can be placed on the season. But from the early days of the church, the Easter Vigil was the primary means by which Easter was observed. This practice has evolved in modern observance into the Easter sunrise service that many churches observe, but its history is much richer.

decorating eggs is part of the easter traditionEaster Symbols: Easter Lilies are used to decorate churches and homes. The large, pure white blossoms remind Christians of the pure new life that comes to them through the Resurrection of Jesus.

Easter eggs & baby chicks- Eggs and chicks symbolize new life. The exchange of eggs in the springtime is a custom that was centuries old when Easter was first celebrated by Christians.  Eggs have been a symbol of spring since ancient times. An egg also is a symbol of the rock tomb out of which Christ emerged when he arose again. The chick, hatching out of the egg, symbolizes new life or re-birth. 

The Easter Bunny is not a modern invention. The symbol originated with the pagan festival of Eastre. The goddess, Eastre, was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthly symbol, the rabbit.  The rabbit, or hare, was a symbol of abundant new life in ancient times, and reminds us of spring and new life. The Germans brought the symbol of the Easter rabbit to America. It was widely ignored by other Christians until shortly after the Civil War. In fact, Easter itself was not widely celebrated in America until after that time.

Palm branches- Represents when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday and people waved palm branches, welcoming him.

Easter baskets, eggs and bunnies are all symbols of EasterEaster Customs: it has long been a custom to wear a new Easter bonnet and clothes on Easter. This tradition of wearing new clothes symbolizes the new life offered through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

From the earliest times, the egg was a symbol of birth in most cultures. Eggs were often wrapped in gold leaf or, if you were a peasant, colored brightly by boiling them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers. Today, children hunt colored eggs and place them in Easter baskets along with the modern version of real Easter eggs, those made of plastic or chocolate candy.
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Easter, which celebrates Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead, is Christianity's most important holiday. It has been called a moveable feast because it doesn't fall on a set date every year, as most holidays do. Instead, Christian churches in the West celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21. Therefore, Easter is observed anywhere between March 22 and April 25 every year. Orthodox Christians use the Julian calendar to calculate when Easter will occur and typically celebrate the holiday a week or two after the Western churches, which follow the Gregorian calendar.
Starts: 04/20/2014 12:00AM
Ends: 2014-04-21:00.000 Duration: 23:59
United States