A brief explanation of the meaning and customs of Easter

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Easter – what are we celebrating?

Easter is one of the most important festivals in Christianity.

Hanover. Easter is one of the most important festivals in Christianity and is celebrated as a traditional family festival in many Christian cultures. From Good Friday to Easter Monday, people commemorate the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus on Easter.

The most important facts about Easter at a glance.

Why is Easter so late this year?

As a so-called moveable feast day, Easter takes place on different dates every year. The date is always based on the first full moon after the beginning of spring. The first Sunday after is Easter.

This year it falls Easter Sunday on the 9th April, easter monday is therefore one day later, on April 10, 2023. The Easter holidays 2023 at a glance:

Immediately before Easter, Holy Week heralds the end of Lent in the western churches. The Holy Week, also known as Silent Week in the Protestant Church, begins palm sundaythis year on 2nd of April. With the holy saturdaythis year on April 8ththe Easter penitential period ends.

In Eastern Christianity, the week before Easter Sunday is considered a separate time period, in the Catholic and Orthodox Church it is also referred to as Great Week or Holy Week. Here the 40-day Lent ends on Easter Sunday.

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Easter date explained: This is how complicated the church calculates Easter

Curious, but true: In fact, the date of Easter is calculated according to the phases of the moon.

Public holidays at Easter: when is it free?

Not every day of Easter week is a public holiday. These are all public holidays at Easter at a glance:

  • Public holidays at Easter 2023: Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays that apply throughout Germany. Easter Sunday is only an explicitly public holiday in Brandenburg.
  • No public holidays on Easter 2023: Maundy Thursday and Holy Saturday are not public holidays.

Importance of Easter: Why is Easter celebrated?

Easter is one of the most important festivals in Christianity. Maundy Thursday commemorates Jesus’ last supper with his disciples and Good Friday the crucifixion of Jesus, while Easter Sunday commemorates Jesus’ resurrection. Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week and goes back to the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

Finally, Easter Monday commemorates the story told in the Gospel of Luke, which says that on this day after Jesus’ resurrection, two disciples made their way to Emmaus. There they met Jesus Christ that evening. The disciples then spread the news of the resurrection in Jerusalem.

Where does the Easter Bunny come from?

The rabbit is also a symbol of fertility at Easter. Various myths and stories surround him. As a symbol of Christ, it is already mentioned in Byzantine icon art, for example. The chocolate bunny, on the other hand, has only been around for about 60 years.

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The rabbit is also associated with the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, Eostre, as a sacred animal. This derivation also seems conclusive because Easter was not originally a Christian tradition, but a pagan festival in honor of the Germanic goddess of spring, Ostara. Incidentally, Easter bonfires also originally go back to a Germanic pagan custom.

What is the Easter egg hunt all about?

The Germanic tradition also offers an explanation for the Easter egg hunt. To honor the goddess of spring, people gave each other eggs as a sign of fertility. However, this was a thorn in the side of the church and so the eggs were hidden from then on.

Painting Easter eggs: where does the custom come from?

Painting and dyeing eggs at Easter is a tradition that has been widespread for centuries. But where does the custom come from?

There are various assumptions that explain what the painted eggs at Easter are all about. One of them: In many cultures, eggs are a symbol of fertility and new life. This symbolism also plays an important role in Christianity, where the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday is symbolized by the egg. In the Middle Ages, eggs were dyed red to commemorate the sacrificial death of Jesus.

Another assumption connects the Easter eggs with Lent. Since eggs were taboo, they had to be preserved by cooking. The hard-boiled chicken eggs were then eaten at the end of Lent on Easter Sunday. To distinguish the old eggs from the fresh ones, they were painted.


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