Festival facts: Easter

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By Louise Tellamteacher and freelance writer.

Find out about the origin of Easter and how Christians celebrate


What is Easter?

Easter is the oldest and principal Christian festival. The title ‘Easter’ is taken from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘Eaostre’, the name of the goddess of Spring, which is when the festival is celebrated. The awakening, rebirth and new life in nature at this time is reflected, for Christians, in the period of preparation, the crucifixion of Jesus and the resurrection events of Easter. This can be seen in the symbols and activities that are traditional parts of the celebration.

Who celebrates Easter?

Easter is celebrated by Christians all over the world although the precise festival date varies.

When is it celebrated?

Easter is the only movable festival in the Christian Church, being held on the first full moon after the Spring Equinox on 21 March. Following Good Friday, which marks the crucifixion of Jesus, Easter Sunday celebrates the resurrection, when Jesus overcame death and returned to life – good triumphing over evil. The festival is preceded by a period of spiritual preparation known as Lent. This ends with Holy Week during which Christians recall the events leading up to Good Friday. Accounts of the Easter story can be found in the Christian Bible in Matthew 21-28, Mark 11-16, Luke 19-24 and John 12-20.

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