Easter is a Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, meaning the day he came back to life. This is believed to have happened 3 days after Jesus was crucified by the Romans. Easter is important for Christians because they believe that the resurrection of Jesus redeemed Christians from their sins.
Easter marks the end of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting for Christians. This means that Christians are encouraged to make a sacrifice during Lent. Fasting is also seen on other Abrahamic faiths, for example the period of Ramadan in Islam.
Easter Day is at a different date each year because it is based on the lunar calendar, similar to the Muslim period of Ramadan.
Easter is celebrated over 1 week known as the Holy Week:
- Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter Sunday), when Christians celebrate Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem.
- Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter Day), when Christians celebrate the Last Supper, when Jesus ate with his disciples before his crucifixion.
- Good Friday (the Friday before Easter Sunday), when Christians believe Jesus was crucified. Christians honour the crucifixion of Jesus as his sacrifice for humankind.
- Easter Sunday, when Christians believe Jesus was resurrected.
The origins of the Easter Bunny are unclear, but it is believed that this modern Easter mascot comes from rabbits being an ancient symbol of fertility and life, therefore representing the new life of Jesus at his resurrection.
Similarly, Easter eggs are thought to have come from eggs representing new life. Church leaders used to ban eating eggs during Holy Week, so any eggs that were laid during the week were decorated instead, spawning the modern Easter tradition of egg-decoration. Eventually, chocolate eggs were created to be eaten instead.