One of the most important holidays of Christianity is Easter. Everyone knows that Easter celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection but perhaps not many of us are familiar with other interesting facts about Easter. Do you know where exactly the modern traditions such as the egg and bunny come from? If not, read on to find out more about this Christian festival.
Easter is a moveable feast because it doesn’t fall on a set date every year, unlike most other holidays. Each year it falls between 21st March and 25th April, depending on when there’s a full moon in spring. As Orthodox Christians use the Julian calendar to calculate when Easter will occur, they celebrate Easter a week or two after the Western churches, which follow the Gregorian calendar.
1. The Name
The exact origin of the name ‘Easter‘ is unknown, however according to some sources the word derives from the Anglo-Saxon word eastre or eostre meaning spring or dawn goddess. Eostre the Germanic goddess of spring and fertility was honoured at pagan festivals celebrating the arrival of spring. Interestingly, the word for the “female hormone” estrogen derives from her name.
2. Ancient Origins
Easter celebration has a long history and many traditions that we practice today evolved from pagan symbols. What happened is that the ancient Roman Catholic Church mixed the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection with celebrations that involved spring fertility rituals in order to make Christianity more attractive to non-Christians. The early pagan religions and traditions honoured the goddess Eostre with sacrifices offered about Passover time each year.