By Ángela Padrón
Jellybeans, chocolate, eggs, and Jesus. What do they all have in common? One word – Easter!
Easter is a Christian holiday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated on the first Sunday that follows the full moon after the equinox, sometime between March 22 and April 25 each year. In Spanish, Easter is called “Pascua,” and in French people call it “Paques,” both of which come from the Greek word Pascha and the Latin word Pasch, which mean “Passover,” or Pesach in Hebrew.
Easter is not just a one-day celebration; it culminates on Easter Sunday after many weeks. The Easter season begins with Lent, which starts 40 days before Easter Sunday. During this time, people reflect on their lives and faith and repent their sins. Then comes Holy Week, which begins one week before Easter Sunday. This includes Maundy Thursday when people remember Jesus’ and the disciples’ last supper. Following that is Good Friday, which symbolizes the day that Jesus was crucified, and Holy Saturday, or the day between the crucifixion and the resurrection. On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate Jesus ascending into heaven.
Although Easter is the most religious holiday of the Christian faith, today Easter is very commercialized. Throughout history, different customs and traditions have transformed Easter into a holiday characterized by colorful eggs, chocolate bunnies, and baskets filled with jellybeans and gifts. No one knows how or why these traditions really started, but children have believed in the Easter bunny Bunny for hundreds of years. They would make nests where the magical bunny could lay its colorful eggs. Today the Easter bunny Bunny is said to deliver baskets with chocolates, candies, and gifts to well-behaved children in the morning.
Two other modern traditions for children are to go on Easter egg hunts and participate in an egg rolling. Even the President of the United States holds an annual Easter Egg Roll where children push decorated, hard-boiled eggs across the White House lawn. Some people believe the egg symbolizes the resurrection, or new life, of Jesus, while the rolling egg symbolizes the stone rolling away from Jesus’ tomb. Easter almost puts Halloween to shame with the amount of candy bought and consumed! The most popular Easter candies are chocolate eggs, jellybeans, and marshmallow, sugary candy called “Peeps.”
Finally, many people in the U.S. adorn themselves with Easter bonnets and pastel spring outfits on Easter. In many cities, people show off their Easter attire by walking in a parade after attending a church service. Around the world, many Christians in different cultures also participate in processions involving a large cross and figures of Jesus being carried through town.
Easter has become one of the most recognized holidays in the U.S. and throughout the world. Whether you plan to attend a church service, an egg hunt, or both, one thing’s for sure – when Easter arrives, spring is right around the corner!