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Date Published 01 March 2018

The meaning of Easter? Easter is the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church. Also known as Resurrection Sunday or Pascha in Greek, it is a festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb on the third day after his crucifixion. According to the Gospel of John in the New Testament, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb where Jesus was buried and found it empty. An angel told her that Jesus had risen. Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox, the first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. As this date changes every year, calculating the exact date can be difficult which is the reason some years Easter is earlier than others.

So why did a rabbit distributing eggs become a part of Easter? It is thought that the story of the Easter Bunny became popular during the 19th century. Rabbits and Hares have big litters of kittens (baby rabbits/hares) which is a symbol of new life. The hare is also a symbol for the moon and the date of Easter depends on the moon.

Why are eggs associated with Easter? In many cultures the egg is a symbol of new life, fertility and birth. During Lent eggs were forbidden to be eaten. Eggs laid during this time were saved, decorated and given as gifts traditionally to children. During the Victorian times, they adapted this by offering satin-covered cardboard eggs filled with Easter gifts. The first chocolate eggs where circulated in France and Germany in the 19th Century.

The tradition of eating lamb? In the Bible, the lamb is a symbol of Jesus and he is referred to as the ‘Lamb of God' by John the Baptist. The lamb comes from the Jewish Passover, where each family killed a lamb as a sacrifice. Jews who converted to Christianity continued the tradition at Easter. When Christ became the Passover Lamb for everyone, the lamb became a symbol for his sacrifice.

Happy Easter from all at Taylor Gibbs