Happy Easter!

Written by Hayley Maine, Photo credit: Raylyn Ray

The Saber explores the history of Easter and ways to celebrate it.  


Easter is a holiday known for feasts, family, eggs, and religion. It falls on April 1 this year, but it falls on a different day each year. This is because the days of the Easter season differ for Western Christians, Eastern Orthodox Christians, and Protestant Christians. These denominations follow different calendars and thus celebrate Easter at different times. The deeper history of Easter, however, is much more than just the days it’s celebrated on. The Easter we know today is actually a combination of Pagan, Germanic, and Jewish culture.

Easter eggs got their start in Pagan religions, which saw eggs as representations of fertility and birth. Easter egg hunts grew in popularity as the egg symbol grew in association with the holiday.

According to historians, credit for the creation of the Easter Bunny belongs to German immigrants in the 1700s. The Easter Bunny was a figure who brought chocolate eggs and candy to their children, most of the time in Easter baskets. Additionally, rabbits were seen as symbols of fertility, as they procreate at an incredible rate. Rabbits are also seen in meadows during springtime, when Easter takes place.

Meanwhile, Jewish Passover is linked with the dish of lamb traditionally served for Easter dinner. Lambs were a common sacrificial animal used during Passover and thus became a symbol of the holiday.

The religious holiday of Easter is not as popular as the commercial holiday it has become. In Christian history, Easter was the day Jesus was resurrected. Many Christians celebrate Easter without the whole Easter Bunny and egg debacle. Many churches hold services, and followers conduct fasting and penitence during Lent. A common tradition in Christian culture is to begin the Easter season with a Great Lent, a period of fasting that begins on Clean Monday and occurs forty days before Easter. The last week of the Easter season falls on Palm Week and ends with Lazarus Sunday, which is the day before Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday starts Holy Week, which then ends on Easter.

Aside from its intricate history, Easter has become a commercial holiday filled with candy, stuffed bunnies, and traditions unique to each celebrating family. Some common non-religious traditions include decorating eggs to hide and filling plastic eggs with candy to hide in yards. Some families make Easter baskets as the mythical Easter Bunny would, filling them with toys, candies, and other springtime items for children and adults, alike. Many families have a grand dinner with traditional Easter menu items such as ham, carrots, lamb, and other meats and vegetables.

You could celebrate Easter, yourself in so many ways. At home, you could gather around family for a nice dinner, color eggs, or fill plastic ones for kids to find in the yard. You could attend a church service or even volunteer to help with an Easter celebration for kids. Whatever you choose, remember to enjoy the time you spend. Happy Easter from The Saber!