Easter is closely linked to the Jewish holiday of Passover (people often forget that Jesus was Jewish). The date of Passover is based on a lunar calendar so it changes every year. This year, Passover falls on April 7th – this Saturday! Christians believe that Jesus Christ was executed [killed by the government] on Good Friday, the day before Passover. Two days later, he came back to life, proving to everyone that he was the Son of God.
Traditionally, children celebrated Easter by decorating hard-boiled eggs and then giving them to friends & family. Recently, children are given gifts of decorated chocolate eggs, rabbits, and chicks. They are told that the chocolates were delivered to their homes by the Easter Bunny early in the morning while they were still sleeping. Some people hold picnics that feature Easter-egg hunts. The picnic organizers hide decorated eggs around the picnic site. Children search for the eggs, trying to find as many as they can. One of the most famous Easter-egg hunts in the world is held at the American White House each year.
President Obama with the Easter Bunny at the White House
Here are some highlights from 2009's Easter Sunday at the White House...
The eggs, rabbits & chicks are all symbols of new life used in ancient European spring festivals celebrated thousands of years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Even the name “Easter” comes from these ancient festivals. Eastre was the ancient German goddess of spring. When the Christians came to power in Europe, they took over the old spring festival. They said that the traditional symbols of new life (eggs, rabbits & chicks) now represent Jesus coming back to life.
Even if you’re not Christian, you can still celebrate Easter. It’s easy – just eat some chocolate!