The history of Easter!

Guin Rogers, Special Section Editor

Easter is this week! Have you ever wondered or thought about the history of Easter? 

Easter is celebrated by many Christians around the world as the day that Jesus was resurrected, 3 days after his crucifixion. The earliest recorded celebration of Easter was in the 2nd century. The date of Easter was heavily debated, with people celebrating on the same day that Jews celebrate Passover. It was finally a “fixed” date in the 4th century when the Council of Nicaea decreed that Easter should be on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. This is the same way we determine the date of Easter today! They probably could have made it a bit easier to remember, seeing as the date can be anytime from March 22 to April 25; and, let’s face it, most of us have to look it up every year.

Another debate is where the name “Easter” actually came from. Venerable Bede, an English Benedictine monk, speculated that it derived from the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, Eostre, or Eostrae. Others think it unlikely that a Christian holiday would be given a name from another religion, though, so today it is commonly believed to come from “eostarum,” an Old High German word deriving from the Latin phrase “alba,” meaning dawn. 

Today many of us celebrate Easter by eating candy and dying eggs. This comes from the 13 century, when the church prohibited the eating of eggs during Easter week. It wouldn’t make sense that the eggs would just disappear during that week, however. The chickens kept laying the eggs, and people started the tradition of painting the eggs red, which symbolizes the blood that Jesus shed on the cross. Easter bunnies became popular in the 19th century, said to lay, decorate, and hide eggs, and also hide candy with them! In other countries, such as Switzerland of Westphalia, however, it’s not the Easter bunny, it’s the Easter Cuckoo, or even the Easter Fox.

Even though you’re not allowed to leave your house during this time, you can still have fun decorating eggs and eating candy with your family! I hope you all have a happy Easter, and enjoy the break off of your schoolwork!