Easter Sunday celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead. It is preceded by the 40 days of Great Lent and is considered the pinnacle of the passion of Jesus. While it is a celebration of profound religious significance, it is known by many as a public holiday – a time of bunny rabbits and egg hunting.
1. Easter celebration dates vary according to religion.
The Jews, who are the first to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, do so during the Passover.
The Western Christians, on the other hand, use the Gregorian calendar in dating Easter. As such, the Sunday celebration for this sect may fall anywhere between March 22 to April 25.
The Eastern Christians, on the other hand, follow the Julian calendar. This places their Easter Sunday between the dates of April 4 to May 8.
This 2020, the Jews will celebrate Easter (Passover) the earliest on April 8 to 9. The Western Christians’ Easter date will be on April 12, with some Americans and Brits celebrating the coming of the day with an early morn sunrise service.
The Easterners, on the other hand, will honor Easter a week later on April 19.
2. The Easter Egg was a symbol of rebirth.
Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus – his rise from the dead. As the egg symbolizes new life, the Christians have used it to commemorate Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.
The beginnings of egg offerings can be traced back to the early Christians of Mesopotamia, who stained the eggs red. The crimson dye was drawn to honor Christ – and the blood he shed during his crucifixion, an interesting fact about Easter.
3. Easter Eggs were part of an early Anglo-Saxon tradition.
There are many beliefs regarding the origins of the Easter Egg. For some scholars, the modern Easter eggs were adapted from the Anglo-Saxon tradition of commemorating the goddess Eastre. To the early Germanic tribes, Eastre was celebrated as the deity of spring and dawn. To mark the coming of springtime, the believers ate eggs – and buried some of them to encourage fertility.
4. For the Early Christians, Easter Eggs became a matter of practicality.
In the early days, Lenten fasting rules were much stricter. The early Christians were forbidden from eating meat or animal products – and that included eggs. To prevent spoilage, they boiled the eggs that were produced by chickens during the Lenten season. By Easter time, these eggs were distributed to the poor and the needy – the people who cannot afford meat for their celebrations, a fun Easter fact.
5. The British were the first ones to paint their Easter Eggs.
The earliest accounts of dyed eggs can be traced back to 1290. Edward I had eggs colored in gold leaf – to be distributed to the royal family. Two centuries later, Henry VIII received a silver-encased egg, aptly known as egg silver, from the Vatican.
The practice of painting Easter eggs, however, was not reserved for the elites. The common Englishmen also brought eggs to their Lords, as they would also offer eggs to the Church during Good Friday. An interesting fact about Easter is that the tradition continued until the 16th century, with evidence suggesting that the eggs were colored red – a shade that signifies joy.
When the Victorian era ushered in, the dyed Easter eggs were given to the children or the local authorities, instead of the church. This gradual shift towards family has resulted in the Easter celebration that kids (and adults as well) have grown to love.
6. The Easter Rabbit decides who’s naughty or nice.
The Easter Rabbit could be likened to Santa Claus. He judged the children – whether they were good or bad – based on their conduct during the Eastertide. In Germanic folklore, the Easter Hare wore clothes – and had a basket of colored eggs in tow. If the child was good, he could expect a treat on the night before Easter.
7. The White House Easter Egg Roll first started in 1814.
Dolly Madison, the wife of former President James Madison, was the first one to host the White House Easter Egg roll. However, the tradition only formally started a few decades after – under the leadership of Rutherford Hayes.
This is an adaptation of a popular Washington DC festivity, which has started in the 1850s. Before the White House became the official location, the early participants played at the Capitol. They pushed the eggs through the grass – with the use of a long-handled spoon.
While the White House Easter Egg Roll has long been observed, it was interrupted for a few years, during the height of the first and second world wars.
The annual egg roll is usually done every Easter Monday at the White House South Lawn. Kids aged 13 and below – as well as their parents – are the esteemed guests of the President and the First Lady for this celebration.
8. Americans spend as much as $1.9 billion on Easter Candy.
After Halloween, Easter is the second occasion where Americans spend a great deal of money on candy. An interesting Easter fact is that an average person will spend as much $151 on Easter treats.
As much as 91 million chocolate bunnies are sold every Easter. They are so popular that Lindt made a humongous bunny weighing more than 9,000 pounds.
Next to the bunny popularity is the chocolate egg, which is oftentimes hollow or made solidly with chocolate. The majority of buyers, however, prefer to have caramel or peanut butter in between. To date, the largest chocolate Easter egg weighs an unbelievable 665 pounds.
Another popular Easter delicacy is the Marshmallow Peeps. They come in vibrant colors – ranging from yellow to pink, and blue to violet. According to reports, as much as 700 million Marshmallow Peeps are eaten during Easter.
Not to be outdone, the jellybean is another Easter edible that’s purchased by the billions. On average, about 16 billion pieces are sold to fulfill the sweet tooth of children – and adults alike. This quantity is enough to encircle the world thrice!
Easter has evolved into a fun-filled festivity for kids and kids at heart. Although this is the case, Easter should be remembered for Christ’s resurrection – and his promise to come again – to judge the living and the dead.
I hope that this article on Easter facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Holiday Facts Page!