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Holiday Insight: Easter

General Information

Whether observed on a religious or secular level, Easter is a celebration of new life. The holiday has roots in both Judeo-Christian and Pagan traditions. Christians and non-Christians celebrate spring each Easter by gathering with family and friends for a meal and decorating their homes with flowers and other symbols of spring.

History of Easter

Easter was officially recognized as a Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Christ in 325 A.D. It is celebrated at about the same time as the Jewish feast of Passover. According to Christians, Jesus was in Jerusalem for Passover when he was crucified and then rose from the dead three days later. The Christian celebration of Easter is also borrowed in part from Pagan rituals, which celebrated the same theme of death and resurrection each spring.

Date of Celebration

In the West, Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal (spring) equinox of the modern Gregorian calendar. Eastern Christians continue to use the vernal equinox of the Julian calendar, the calendar of the Roman Empire, to date Easter. The following chart shows the dates for Easter through 2010.

WesternMarch 27April 16April 8March 23April 12April 4
EasternMay 1April 23April 8April 27April 19April 4

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