New Delhi, April 4, 2021: Easter and its decorative eggs, delicious hams, and cheerful baskets are coming up sooner than you think. The Christian holiday celebrates the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter is a “movable feast” that is always held on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25. This year, Easter will be celebrated across the world on Sunday, April 4.
Origin of Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday, also called Pascha (Aramaic, Greek, Latin) or Resurrection Sunday, is a Christian festival and holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day after his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD.
It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent (or Great Lent), a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.
The egg is an ancient symbol of new life and rebirth. In Christianity it became associated with Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection. In some traditions the children put out their empty baskets for the Easter bunny to fill while they sleep.
They wake to find their baskets filled with candy eggs and other treats.
Easter Sunday baskets
The Easter baskets have special symbolism. The woven containers represent nests and new life, especially when filled to the brim with eggs. Plus, they’re a pretty utilitarian way to collect goodies on your Easter egg hunt.
There is also a reason you probably eat ham for Easter dinner. Historically, most early Easter celebrants would have eaten lamb for this special occasion as the holiday has its roots in Jewish Passover.
Most American Easter dinners now feature ham, however, because of the timing of the holiday. Years ago, hams cured over the winter months would have been ready to serve in the early spring.
Easter lilies are a relatively new tradition. These beautiful blooms first originated in Japan and later arrived in England in the late 18th century. The U.S. only caught onto the trend after World War I. The transition from dormant bulbs to delicate flowers brings to mind hope and rebirth, two important themes of the day.
Easter eggs have a medieval twist. The priest would give one of the choir boys a hardboiled egg, and the boys would pass it amongst themselves until the clock struck midnight, when whoever was holding it then got to eat it. Easter clothes used to be considered as good luck.
Old superstition held that if you wore new clothes on Easter, you would have good luck for the rest of the year. In fact, it was so widely believed that upper-class New Yorkers would quite literally strut their stuff coming out of mass in beautiful and well-to-do Fifth Avenue churches.
This tradition became the basis of the modern, and decidedly less elitist, Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival in New York.
Easter eggs date back way before Easter. There’s evidence showing that Easter eggs originated from Medieval Europe and Christians may not have actually been the ones to start the tradition of giving eggs — a symbol of fertility and rebirth in many cultures.
Before you sit down for a delicious brunch or entertain the kids with some Easter crafts, take a moment to learn about this holiday’s rich background, including its special foods, superstitions, and symbols.
Then impress your family and friends with a little Easter trivia that explains the little-known origins behind your favorite traditions.
- The holiday was named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre.
Scholars believe that Easter was named after a festival celebrating Eostre and the coming of spring.
Her sacred symbols are thought to have been the hare and the egg.
- Eggs are dyed to represent the blood of Jesus Christ.
Well, at least that might be one of the reasons, which stems from early Christians in Mesopotamia.
There isn’t a concrete reason behind the tradition, but there are several theories.
- Good Friday is recognised as a holiday in only 12 states.
Occurring two days before Easter Sunday, Good Friday commemorates Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, but it isn’t a federal holiday. Residents in certain states experience closures, including: New Jersey, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
- In 2020, 77% of Americans celebrated the holiday.
About half of those chose to mark the occasion with a holiday meal, and a third decided to visit family and friends virtually, according to the National Retail Federation.
- We can thank Germany for the bunny. The idea of the Easter bunny giving candies and eggs is said to have originated in Germany during the Middle Ages, with the first written mention of this tradition dating back to the 16th century.
Dutch settlers in Pennsylvania brought the bunny to the United States in the 1700s.
- Easter and Halloween often compete for the highest candy sales every year. The two holidays are always going head-to-head to have the most candy sales, usually coming close to each other.
In fact, some years, people buy more candy the week before Easter than the week before Halloween, but that’s because Halloween purchases are more spread out over the month leading up to the spooky night.
- Americans eat about 1.5 million peeps during Easter.
That makes these colorful marshmallows the most popular non-chocolate Easter candy. The Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, factory makes an impressive 5.5 million a day.
- In 1953 , it took 27 hours to make one peep.
That’s back when they were still new to the world and were handmade with a pastry tube.
But don’t worry, it was sped up to six minutes thanks to a unique machine called The Depositor.
- More than 1.5 Million Cadbury Creme Eggs are made every day.
Even more impressive is that the Bournville factory in Birmingham, England, makes 500 million every year.
If you piled those eggs on top of each other, they’d be taller than Everest.
- Americans consume more than 16 million jelly beans during Easter.
That’s enough jelly beans to circle the globe not once, not twice, but three times — or to fill a plastic egg the size of a nine-story building. First introduced as an Easter treat in the 1930s, we can’t imagine this day without them.
- Around 90 million chocolate bunnies are sold for Easter.
Considering $2.6 billion is spent on candy alone during this religious celebration, it makes sense. Oh, and that’s only in the United States.
- A surprising 59% of people eat the ears first.
Only a handful start with the feet or tail, and the rest apparently don’t have a plan of action.
- The White House Easter Egg Roll tradition started in 1878.
It’s said that President Rutherford B. Hayes was taking a walk when children approached him asking about a possible Easter egg roll. He loved the idea and it’s been a yearly event since then.
- In the old days, pretzels were associated with Easter.
Because the twists of this salty treat resemble arms crossing in prayer. We say it’s time to bring back this savory snack to the sweets-filled holiday.