Every year, Christians around the world celebrate Easter. For many, it is a deeply religious period that honours the resurrection of their savior – Jesus Christ.
Some Christians simply see it as a time to hunt for colored eggs and eat candy with family.
Easter, widely considered the most important Christian festivity, is the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, three days after he was crucified.
Here is what you should know about the days that commemorate the Passion of Christ.
25 Things You Should Know About Easter
- Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Christian religion.
2. Easter takes place on a Sunday, after the 40-day period called Lent. Lent is referred to as a time of fasting, but participants focus more on giving up one significant indulgence.
3. Easter falls on a different date each year. The celebration is considered “moveable feasts,” although in western Christianity with Gregorian calendar, Easter always falls on a Sunday between March 22nd and April 25th.
4. Holy Week is celebrated during the week leading up to Easter. It begins on Palm Sunday, continues on to Spy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and finally, Easter Sunday.
5. Holy Week began in Jerusalem in the earliest days of the church, though the term first appears in the writings of fourth century bishops, Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, and Epiphanius, bishop of Constantia.
6. An archaic and infrequently used name for the Wednesday before Easter is “Spy Wednesday”, named for Judas’ becoming a spy for the Sanhedrin.
7. Maundy Thursday is the day before Good Friday. The term “Maundy” is derived from the Latin word mandatum (commandment). The term refers to the commandment given by Jesus at the Last Supper.
8. The historical origins of the “Good” in Good Friday remain unclear, though some etymologists believe the term “good” is an archaic form of “holy.”
9. Holy Saturday commemorates the “harrowing of hell,” the time between his Crucifixion and his Resurrection when Christ is believed to have descended into hell.
10. This period of fasting and penitence is called Lent. It begins on Ash Wednesday, and lasts for 40 days (not including Sundays).
11. Easter celebration was initially known as “Pascha”, a name taken from the Jewish Passover Festival and the term “Easter” came from the Anglo-Saxon word for April – “Eostremonath”.
12. Despite its significance as a Christian holy day, many of the traditions and symbols that play a key role in Easter observances actually have roots in pagan celebrations particularly the pagan goddess Eostre (or Ostara), the ancient Germanic goddess of spring—and in the Jewish holiday of Passover.
13. Some churches still keep up the old tradition of using evergreens as a symbol of eternal life embroidered in red on white, or woven in straw, but most now prefer displays of flowers in the spring colors of green, yellow, and white.
14. Some traditions also claim the Easter egg is symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus, with the shell of the egg representing the sealed Tomb and cracking the shell representing the Resurrection.
15. Christians in the Middle East and in Greece painted eggs bright red to symbolize the blood of Christ.
16. Eggs have been seen as ancient symbol of fertility, while springtime is considered to bring new life and rebirth
17. The resurrection of Jesus, as described in the New Testament of the Bible, is essentially the foundation upon which the Christian religions are built. Hence, Easter is a very significant date on the Christian calendar.
18. According to the New Testament, Jesus was arrested by the Roman authorities, essentially because he claimed to be the “Son of God,” although historians question this motive, with some saying that the Romans may have viewed him as a threat to the empire.
19. He was sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect in the province of Judea.
20. From 26 to 36 A.D. Jesus’ death by crucifixion, marked by the Christian holiday Good Friday (the Friday before Easter), and subsequent resurrection three days later is said, by the authors of the gospels, to prove that he was the living son of God.
21. In varying ways, all four of the gospels in the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) state that those who believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection are given “the gift of eternal life,” meaning that those of faith will be welcomed into the “Kingdom of Heaven” upon their earthly death.
22. Much like the Olde English and Celtic beliefs of the rabbits being a sign of fertility, the Egyptians believed that the egg was a symbol of birth and life.
23. One of the most well-known Easter traditions in American is the annual Easter Egg Roll, this dates back to the 17th President of America.
24. The annual Easter Egg Roll got its start sometime between 1867 and 1872 (accounts vary), but two things are certain: First, it was initially held on the grounds of the Capitol and, secondly, it is now illegal to do so.
25. You may be disappointed to find that when you bite into the chocolate Easter bunnies, it isn’t filled with anything, it’s just hollow.