Easter 2021 is all set to be celebrated on the 4th of April this year. The “movable feast” is traditionally celebrated on a Sunday between March 22nd and April 25th. There are many Easter activities and traditions that are loved by Christians and non-Christians alike, and we enjoy talking about them to make our readers aware of cultures from around the world.
As outsiders, there’s very little that is known about this event, but religious scholars and Christians know its history and true significance. You must be wondering how Easter got its name and how is the date of its celebration determined? It’s natural to have such questions pop in your mind, as there are so many decorations, desserts, activities for kids that make you curious!
So, without further ado, let’s find out everything that there is to know about Easter. But make sure that you’ve liked our page on Facebook, as we continue to bring news from around the globe to your screens.
As mentioned earlier, Easter will be celebrated on Sunday, April 4 this year. Orthodox Easter, however, will take place on the 2nd of May. Interestingly, this year, Easter will be celebrated one week after March’s full moon – also the first full Moon after spring equinox. Do you know that this Moon is known as Paschal Full Moon in the Christian calendar?
We briefly mentioned that Easter is usually held between March 22nd and April 25th, and that is exactly why Easter is known as a movable feast. In the last 500 years, Easter has coincided on these dates. But it’s interesting to see Eastern Orthodox Christians not follow the same trend. They usually follow the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar.
Thereby, they observe this event sometime between April 4th and May 8th.
Traditionally, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the full Moon that is seen after the first spring equinox. Yes, we realize that these are just complicated words that hold no meaning to you. We’re going to break it down for you.
We’re going to take an example of this year’s Easter, okay? The spring equinox happened on March 20th (last Saturday), so the first full Moon that will be observed after that date will be on March 28th. Hence, the subsequent Sunday is supposed to be on Sunday, April 4.
Like we mentioned above, the full Moon of spring is known as Paschal Full Moon in the Christian calendar.
Don’t you wonder about the possibilities that could arise if the Full Moon and Spring Equinox coincided? Has it ever happened before? Well, if the coincidence happens, Easter is celebrated on the Sunday after that. This situation, however, is complicated and is known as caveat.
You can clearly tell that determining the date of Easter is quite complex. It was even more complex back in the day, and so, to simplify the calculations, they established that the spring equinox would be observed every March 21 – knowing that the date changes every year.
Due to the discrepancy noticed between the astronomical equinox date and the date that the church observes can be a cause for confusion at times; at least this was the case in 2019, because the full Moon and the astronomical equinox coincided on the same day, causing mass confusion.
If we had gone by the usual, Easter would’ve been celebrated on March 24, Sunday. But since the Church observed the equinox on March 21st, there were issues risen on technical grounds. Therefore, Easter was celebrated on April 21st, which was the first full Moon on Friday, April 19.
People often wonder if Easter is a religious or cultural event because of how fun it looks. So, you should know that it’s actually an incredibly religious event holding serious significance: it is the day when Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead after the crucifixion.
Easter is celebrated from the beginning of time and it supposedly marks the end of the Holy Week, of Lent. The Holy Week is comprised of several important occasions, like Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Maundy Thursday, and Ash Wednesday as well. The resurrection is essentially representative of the triumphs (of good over evil), and detoxes our physical being of sins and evil.
Also known as Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, Easter is known as the festival that reignites passion ad love for God.
Pascha itself is a Latin word that stems directly from Pesach, which is a Hebrew word that means Passover. This takes us back to the Hebrew Bible, in which there’s a story of the first Passover. Moses shares a story of Israelites where they slaughter a passive lamb and use its blood to paint their door. In addition, Lord shields the Israelites from death and does not allow the destroyer to enter their houses.
According to the New Testament, Paul refers to Jesus as the paschal lamb who was sacrificed for his people to serve their salvation. Jesus supposedly celebrates the Last Supper with his people during the Passover. Hence, the Feast of Resurrection is also somehow related to the Jewish Holiday.
This was the background of Easter, but where does the word Easter come from? What is its exact origin? Interestingly, the history of Easter is not as simple as it may seem, but it is known to have a pagan origin.
A lot of people believe that Easter comes from the phrase ‘hebdomada Alba’, a Latin word meaning white week. This was essentially used to explain the white garments that the Christians used to wear when they would be baptized during the Holy Week.
Saint Bede has said that the word Easter comes from the Anglo-Saxon dawn goddess of fertility Eostre who was also known as the goddess of dawn. She originated from a region which is now known as the Scandinavia. The name eventually caught up and was soon referred to as the Feast of the Resurrection known as the Eosturmonath.
Easter is also the name for East in German and it originates from Latin which translates to dawn. In the early days, Easter used to mean “to turn toward the east” or “rising”.
In fact, many would be surprised to know that the word itself had no religious connotation. Do you know that Easter Bunnies were invented by Germans? They used to dress up as an Easter Bunny and visit the homes of “good children” just like Santa Claus!
Fun fact: Easter is one of the oldest English words.
It doesn’t matter how we got the word Easter, because today it only indicates Christ’s resurrection. It’s a reminder of the fact that we’re all mortal and that death brings life.
Traditions are there for societies to stay united and connect on an emotional level. Easter is a great time to come together as a family and create memories to cherish for years to come. You must know that a family is built on traditions and values. Thus, we bring to you some of the best Easter traditions – some that you can start and carry on forever.
DYEING EASTER EGGS
You must have seen people dyeing and decorating eggs - well, this tradition goes way back to the pagans. Eggs essentially are representative of rebirth and life, and so, they’re often closely associated with spring and the idea of growth. Hence, to celebrate this beautiful event, Christians (especially children) spend time coloring eggs that are given to them by family as gifts.
Like we said before, this tradition originated from the ancient pagans, Christians simply adopted it. The story is quite popular; Mary had brought eggs with her to Jesus’ crucifixion and that’s when blood from his wound had fallen on the eggs.
Some also believe that Mary had brought a basket of cooked eggs to share with women at Jesus’ tomb three days after his death. And when they were rolled back the stone, they discovered that the tomb was empty and that the eggs had turned red.
THE EASTER BUNNY
At first, you’d be lost at the idea of a giant rabbit holding religious significance. But it seems like the tradition is quite ancient and dates back to the pagans, again. They apparently celebrated the Goddess of fertility who was called Eostre.
And fertility is one trait that the rabbits are most known for. It is said that the German immigrants adopted the tradition of an egg-laying hare that later became known as Osterhase in the US.
HOLLOW CHOCOLATE BUNNIES
After finding out the significance of rabbits, the importance of chocolate leporidae would make more sense. But don’t you wonder why most of them are so hollow inside? Well, if you must ask, it’s not there to disappoint kids and spoil their fun. As per R.M. Palmer, the hollow insides are actually there to maintain the health of your teeth.
"If you had a larger-size bunny and it was solid chocolate, it would be like a brick; you’d be breaking teeth" - Says Mark Schlott.
Obviously, you can count in the “wow” factor that is there to make the confectioner look impressive at a reasonable cost.
If you know about the German Osterhase tradition, you should also know that there was a mythical bunny that used to stop by people’s houses to encourage children. The bunny used to come to their houses and lay eggs that were colorful. In some time, these nests would transform into baskets and that explains the tradition of Easter egg baskets.
HOT CROSS BUNS
We mentioned above that it’s difficult to explain the beginning of the bunny and eggs tradition – the same is the case with hot cross buns. Easter appetizers have sweet rolls studded with raisins and marked with a cross sign on its top. These are basically Easter foods that are especially made during the week leading up to the big Sunday.
This tradition began in the 12th century and it was all because of a monk who came up with the idea. The first written evidence of hot cross buns can be traced back to the 1730s
EASTER FASHION PARADES
There’s an old saying that wearing new clothes on Easter brings good luck for the future. Of course, there is also a connection to the concept of rebirth and growth - at the end of the day, it’s just become a concept that capitalism cashes on. Do you know that in the mid-18000s, parishioners used to conduct a post-church fashion show? In fact, the same tradition can be seen today, and it has been changed to the term finery.
You may be well-versed with the story where Mary opened up Jesus’s tomb at dawn on Easter morning and found it empty. To honor this moment in history, many churches hold services at sunrise so that parishioners could relive it and experience the event up close. The first time this event was ever held, it was in 1732 in Saxony, Germany.
The year next to that, there was an entire congregation, and it started spreading like wildfire to places all over the world. The first sunrise service in the United States was observed in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
It may be hard to believe, but the juicy ham in your dining room table also goes back to the pagan era. They used to observe this ritual to honor the arrival of spring and praise the goddess, Eostre. The tradition goes way back – Hunters in Chicago used to slaughter hogs in the forest. They used to leave the dead to cure all throughout winter. By spring, pork would be the only meat prepared to start the celebrations with. Just like other pagan traditions, Christianity adopted this tradition as well.
GOOD FRIDAY KITES
Have you ever been in Bermuda during Good Friday? If you happen to cross that path at that time, make sure to look at the sky and see the legions of kites flying all over. Legends say that a teacher once used a kite as a metaphor to describe the visuals of Jesus ascending into heavens. This analogy obviously got caught up, and so people now fly kites to observe the important day.
Egg knocking is basically a game in which two competitors tap the edge of their eggs against one another just to see which one cracks first; the idea is to identify the one that survives. This game was played back in the medieval Europe, but it became popular in the US in 1956 when local families started gathering around to have a battle of the eggs. Do you know that most families prepare for this match months in advance? It sounds like a waste of time, but a lot of people take it seriously!
When did the German tradition of Osterbrunnen start? Do you know what it is all about? Well, this tradition is quite simplistic yet grand, as you have to decorate public wells and fountains and light them up with solid greenery. This tradition started only a century ago and that, too, in Germany.
It is believed that German villagers were keen on honoring the gift of water as well as the event of Easter. Water is the cause of life and so it represents renewal and newness. Soon, other villages also started competing in these matches, and they would create the most fanciful fountains.
When the trailer of a new movie releases, experts come out with videos that are called Easter eggs. The idea is derived from the event where people hunt for Easter eggs during the festival. What do these people look for in the videos, like movie trailers? They search for hidden messages, characters, and images. This “hunt” is to unravel hidden clues that the editors and director have purposely left for viewers and fans so as to create a vibe. This activity is actually pretty interesting and a great pass time for fans - like Marvel fans love dissecting movie trailers and discovering minor details.
Easter will be slightly different than last year, because the government has lifted the lockdown so most of the places have opened up. Of course, people are still recommended to follow the SOPs and take all safety precautions. Hence, we can say that things will be comparatively better than last year - when everything happened virtually and the real Easter spirit got spoiled.
However, countries like Germany are thinking of going on a nationwide lockdown yet again – the third wave is raging, and it’s even more rigorous than before. Many countries like the UK might be following suit and might soon announce rules regarding social distancing - nothing is confirmed yet. America, on the other hand, has given a clear opening. Apparently, the vaccine is out, so there’s no need to worry.
People can stay at home and get in the Easter spirit with Easter worship songs and fun decorations. You can check out this article on Easter songs 2021 to get an idea about your playlist for the day.
Easter 2021 would not be complete without Easter lunch, dinner, cakes, and gifts ideas. We all know that that is exactly what kids look forward to the most. Also, don’t forget the Easter flower arrangements and Easter baskets! But are there any discounts that you could count on? Well, we have compiled a list for you!
Kohl’s Easter Gifts
If you remember the sales that happened last year, Kohl came out with the best ones! It famously gave a 50% puff to shoppers on Easter décor and Easter candy that also included baskets starting from $2. This year, they’ve come up with yet another sale - this time, only 15% though. You can check out their official website and get stuff from their Easter selection.
Also, make sure that you use their promo code (CATCH15OFF). In addition, you also get free shipping on orders above
$100. However, the shipping is free only till April 6. Apart from this, you can still make use of Kohl’s free in-store pickup.
Pottery Barn’s Easter Gifts
Pottery Barn is offering gifts that are not only to celebrate and mark the Easter holidays, but also to help you prepare for spring. Hence, if you’re looking for gifts for adults, this has to be your go-to and most reliable store. You will get several options, like Easter nail designs 2021, that are available at clearance price.
Target’s Easter Gifts
Of course, Target offers plenty of items that are relevant to Easter celebrations. You can get Easter gear from Target’s Drive Up or simply order them online. Last year, the same outlet offered its customers $25 off a toy purchase and a free $10 Target gift card. The sale is up till the 27th of March only, so hurry up!
Walmart’s Easter gifts
Walmart is also here to offer you deals that are available both online and in-store, so you should make your run to fill the baskets of your kids and also the dinner table. Last year, the discount was so cheap that things were being sold at $3 as well!
World Market’s Easter Gifts
You may shop for Easter outfits and adorable toys from Shop World Market’s Easter gifts. One of the toys include plush stuff bunny by Bunnies the Bay, and it is currently being sold for only $9.99! You can save up to 10% by using its curbside pickup option!
Deals on Easter Gift Baskets
And finally, you can’t enjoy Easter without Easter baskets. Go for a hunt, but carry the baskets provided by Amazon! They are filled with incredible goodies that your kids will love.
Anyway, let us know how you’re planning on celebrating Easter this year