It’s time to stock your shelves with Cadbury products and tell tales of a bunny named Peter. Easter break is approaching and it’s worth considering why students get this time off. Being a holiday recognized around the world, the Easter celebration combines traditions from different time periods all over the globe.
From a religious standpoint, Easter celebrates the Christian Savior Jesus Christ of Nazareth’s spiritual and bodily resurrection. It is believed Biblically that Christ was resurrected on the third day following his death, which is why Easter comes on the Sunday after the acknowledgment of Good Friday, on which Christians remember Christ’s crucifixion.
The date of Easter changes every year based on the Jewish calendar, which is based on the moon’s cycle. Biblical tradition states that Jesus was crucified and buried after Passover’s celebration, which falls over the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Because Christians want to celebrate Easter after Passover, which falls on a different date yearly, so does Easter. Ideally, the holiday now lands on the first Sunday after the Passover moon.
While Easter has roots in the resurrection story, it is usually much more than a religious holiday for Christians. Fun and fantastical elements like the Easter bunny and dyed eggs have enchanted children and families for many years. The origin story of the Easter bunny actually comes from German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania in the 1700s. They loved to spread tales of an “egg-laying rabbit.” Easter eggs connect to the “Osterhase,” or Easter hare, but also bring back connections to Christian theology. Eggs represent the life and emergence of Jesus from the tomb.
Even further, egg hunts were popularized in the late 16th century by the Protestant reformer Martin Luther. He created egg hunts for his congregation and had men hide the eggs for the women and children to find. This was another innuendo to the story of the resurrection, in which the empty tomb was discovered by women.
Another tradition may include our annual main course: ham. As written in thedailymeal.com, lamb was usually the customary meal. This stems from the Jewish holiday Passover, which celebrates Israelites being liberated and their exodus from Egypt. It was standard for followers of the Jewish faith to eat lamb on Passover; however, when the same people converted to Christianity, they continued this custom during the Easter holiday.
Nevertheless, ham became a great alternative because farmers could preserve the meat during winter months by curing it, so when spring arrived, it was available to eat. Ham was also more affordable for most households and came in a larger serving size, which is why it has become more popularized.
Easter is also a big holiday commercially for candy companies since so many people participate in Easter egg hunts and create baskets that include many different sweets. It’s the second biggest holiday for candy revenue, following Halloween. According to womensday.com, the most popular Easter candy includes Cadbury Caramel Eggs, Resse’s milk chocolate bunny, Peeps, Palmer cookies & cream Easter eggs, Lindt gold bunnies and Cadbury mini eggs.
Continually, most families create festive baskets to commemorate this holiday. In addition to the candy above, most baskets are filled with toys, stuffed animals, clothing or colored eggs! While you can most certainly purchase a basket at any local store or online company, many people create homemade presents to make it more personal and memorable.
However, the continued coronavirus pandemic could take a toll on candy purchases, with large gatherings being limited to smaller groups or canceled altogether.
The Easter season overall celebrates the coming of spring, new life and growth. The spring is a great opportunity to focus on success and positivity, especially as the COVID-19 vaccine continues to be distributed and hope for togetherness remains strong.