What is Easter?
Easter is the most important Christian festival. Christians are followers of Jesus Christ who lived about 2000 years ago in a country called Palestine. They believe that Jesus was the son of God. At Easter time Christians remember the last week of Jesus' life.
How did Easter get its name?
One belief is that Easter got its name from the Goddess of Spring called Eostre who some people worshipped long before Jesus was born. At that time it was thought that the sun died in winter and was born again in spring when days would lengthen and the sun’s power would return. In Europe, Eostre was honoured as the bringer of spring.
When and how long is Easter?
Easter Day is always on a Sunday, but the date varies from year to year unlike Christmas which is always on 25 December. Many years ago Christians decided that Easter Day should be always be on the Sunday following the first full moon after the first day of Spring on 21 March. This means that Easter can be as early as 22 March or as late as 25 April. For this reason Easter is called a movable feast.
In fact not only is Easter a movable feast but it happens on different dates depending on where in the world you live. In western churches such as in the United Kingdom, Easter will be celebrated on 31 March, 2013 whereas in Eastern Orthodox churches the date will be 05 May, 2013. The reason for this is that in the west the date is calculated using the Gregorian calendar which is different to the Julian calendar which is used in the east.