Easter 2013 – History and Traditions

Eggs, bunnies, fasting and feasting – it’s time to gear up for Easter! One of the most important and festive holidays in the United States, this occasion is celebrated in a number of different ways throughout various parts of the world. This year, Easter Sunday falls on March 31, 2013.

About Easter – A Brief History

Celebrate Easter 2013

A widely-celebrated holiday, Easter traditionally commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians believe that it was on this day that Jesus came back from the dead, three days after his crucifixion. His coming back to life inspires Christian followers to keep their faith in Him.

On What Date is Easter celebrated?

Easter is referred to as a movable feast day, since it is not celebrated on a fixed date every year. There are many versions of how the date of Easter is calculated, but most people determine the date on the basis of lunisolar cycles. Easter is the third Sunday in the paschal lunar month. The Gregorian calculation states that Easter can fall between or on 22 March and 25 April.

Lent: Preparing for Easter

For most practicing Christians, Lent refers to the 40-day period of fasting that culminates on Easter Sunday. For some, though, the period of Lent lasts only until Holy Thursday.

One of the primary objectives of Lent is to prepare believers for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. During this six-week period, believers use prayer, penance, repentance, alms-giving, and fasting to remind themselves of the trials and sacrifices that Jesus endured for them. Generally, it is a time that they set aside for reflection.

The beginning of Lent is marked by the observance of Ash Wednesday.

Easter Traditions

  1. Easter Eggs:

    • Egg Hunts: Popular not just in the United States, egg hunts are organized in places like Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Malaysia, Australia, and many more locales!
    • Egg Decorations: Easter is most often symbolized by brightly colored and decorated eggs! Each year, stores sell almost every imaginable kind of Easter egg – from chocolate ones, which are probably the most popular, to dyed eggs that look colorful and bright – you will be spoilt for choice.
    Decorating Easter Eggs
  2. Easter Bunny: While there is no mention of the bunny in the Bible, the Easter bunny has become an important symbol of this festive day. Traditionally, kids are taught to believe that the Easter bunny delivers decorated eggs, chocolates, candies, and other gifts to well-behaved children on Easter Sunday.
  3. Easter Parades: Many cities organize Easter parades, with enthusiastic participants often sporting decorated bonnets and hats. While there is no real religious significance to this event, it is a popular form of Easter celebrations in Christian communities.
  4. Easter Egg Roll: One of the most popular traditions during Easter is probably the Easter Egg Roll, which is organized every year for the White House’s yearly Easter celebration. One of the largest events held at the home of the President of the United States, the Easter Egg Roll is a friendly race across the White house lawn that has kids rolling Easter eggs to the finish line. The full day of festivities is filled with live entertainment, sports, and other fun activities as well!

Easter Traditions around the World

With Easter celebrations varying from place to place, it can be rather intriguing for both kids and adults to see how people in different parts of the world celebrate this day. Here are some interesting Easter traditions from areas outside of the US:

  • Italy: It is common in Italy for all members of the family to exchange eggs on Easter Sunday. There are special gifts that are hidden inside each of these eggs!
  • Ireland: Most of the traditions that are popular in the United States are also commonly found in Ireland, but they also have some unique ones of their own. Some of these practices include the herring funeral, the dawn dance, and the cake dance!
  • Europe: In some parts of the European continent, large bonfires are lit. Called Easter Fires, people gather around these fires and celebrate, indulging in drinks and other festive snacks.

Easter is one of the most well-attended Sunday church services of the year. Now that you have learned a little more about this important holiday, check out some fun Easter activities that you and your family can do!

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