Window on UK Culture

What is Easter?


Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the most important Christian festival, and the one celebrated with the greatest joy.

When is Easter?


Easter is observed by the church on the first Sunday following the full moon that occurs on or following the spring equinox (March 21).

What does the word Easter mean?


The word Easter comes from the pre-Christian pagan god of Spring, Eastre. Pagans used to celebrate the Spring equinox as this was the time when the Earth was being reborn and coming back to life after the winter months. On March 21 the hours of day and night are of equal length in the Northern Hemisphere.

What's the Easter Story?


Jesus Christ was crucified on Good Friday after which his body was taken down from the cross and put in a cave with the entrance sealed. On the Sunday following Good Friday, the cave was found to be empty and on that day and a few days afterwards Jesus was seen walking around before his eventual ascent to heaven.

Isn't "Good" Friday a strange name for the day Jesus was crucified?

Not at all. Back in the day, the word "good" actually meant holy.

Why have Easter Eggs and the Easter Bunny?


These date back to pre Christian festivals when the pagans were celebrating Spring Equinox. Eggs and Rabbits (bunnies) were seen as fertility symbols. Nowadays people give chocolate Easter eggs as presents, there are egg painting competitions and Easter Egg hunts where someone dressed as the Easter Bunny will hide eggs for children to find.