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  • Type: Christian, cultural Significance: Celebrates resurrection of Jesus
  • Celebrations: Church services, festive family meals, Easter egg hunts and gift-giving
  • Observances: Prayer, all-night vigil, sunrise service
  • Easter Week is the period of seven days from Easter Sunday through the Saturday following. It follows Holy Week. 
  • Easter Friday/ Bright Friday, the Friday after the Christian festival of Easter. 
  • Easter Monday (also known as Egg Nyte) is the day after Easter Sunday and is celebrated as a holiday in largely Christian cultures
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Easter is Related to: 
Passover, of which it is regarded the Christian equivalent; Septuagesima, Sexagesima, Quinquagesima, Shrove TuesdayAsh Wednesday, Clean Monday, Lent, Great Lent, Palm Sunday, Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday which lead up to Easter; and Thomas Sunday, Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and Corpus Christi which follow it.
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Easter
(Old English: Ēostre) or the Pasch or (among Eastern Orthodox) Pascha (Latin: Pascha; Greek: Πάσχα, Paskha; Aramaic: פַּסחא‎ Pasḥa; from Hebrew: פֶּסַח‎ Pesaḥ) is a Christian festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion at Calvary as described in the New Testament. Easter is the culmination of the Passion of Christ, preceded by Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance. The last week of Lent is called Holy Week, and it contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday in the Catholic Church), commemorating Maundy and the Last Supper, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Easter is followed by a fifty-day period called Eastertide or the Easter Season, ending with Pentecost Sunday. The festival is referred to in English by a variety of different names including Easter Day, Easter Sunday, Resurrection Day and Resurrection Sunday.

Easter is a moveable feast, 
meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the northern hemisphere's vernal equinox. Ecclesiastically, the equinox is reckoned to be on 21 March (even though the equinox occurs, astronomically speaking, on 20 March in most years), and the "Full Moon" is not necessarily the astronomically correct date. The date of Easter therefore varies between 22 March and 25 April. Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian calendar whose 21 March corresponds, during the 21st century, to 3 April in the Gregorian calendar, in which the celebration of Easter therefore varies between 4 April and 8 May.

Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In many languages, the words for "Easter" and "Passover" are etymologically related or homonymous. Easter customs vary across the Christian world, but attending sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the church and decorating Easter eggs, a symbol of the empty tomb, are common motifs. Additional customs include egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, and Easter parades, which are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians.
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Theological significance
The New Testament teaches that the resurrection of Jesus, which Easter celebrates, is a foundation of the Christian faith. The resurrection established Jesus as the powerful Son of God and is cited as proof that God will judge the world in righteousness. God has given Christians "a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead". Christians, through faith in the working of God are spiritually resurrected with Jesus so that they may walk in a new way of life.

Easter is linked to the Passover and Exodus from Egypt recorded in the Old Testament through the Last Supper and crucifixion that preceded the resurrection. According to the New Testament, Jesus gave the Passover meal a new meaning, as he prepared himself and his disciples for his death in the upper room during the Last Supper. He identified the loaf of bread and cup of wine as his body soon to be sacrificed and his blood soon to be shed. Paul states, "Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed"; this refers to the Passover requirement to have no yeast in the house and to the allegory of Jesus as the Paschal lamb.

One interpretation of the Gospel of John is that Jesus, as the Passover lamb, was crucified at roughly the same time as the Passover lambs were being slain in the temple, on the afternoon of Nisan 14. The scriptural instructions specify that the lamb is to be slain "between the two evenings", that is, at twilight. By the Roman period, however, the sacrifices were performed in the mid-afternoon. Josephus, Jewish War 6.10.1/423 ("They sacrifice from the ninth to the eleventh hour"). Philo, Special Laws 2.27/145 ("Many myriads of victims from noon till eventide are offered by the whole people"). This interpretation, however, is inconsistent with the chronology in the Synoptic Gospels. It assumes that text literally translated "the preparation of the passover" in John 19:14 refers to Nisan 14 (Preparation Day for the Passover) and not necessarily to Yom Shishi (Friday, Preparation Day for Sabbath) and that the priests' desire to be ritually pure in order to "eat the passover" refers to eating the Passover lamb, not to the public offerings made during the days of Unleavened Bread.
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Easter Customs:
Throughout the English-speaking world, many Easter traditions are similar with only minor differences. For example, Saturday is traditionally spent decorating Easter eggs and hunting for them with children on Sunday morning, by which time they have been mysteriously hidden all over the house and garden. Other traditions involve parents telling their children that eggs and other treats such as chocolate eggs or rabbits, and marshmallow chicks (Peeps), have been delivered by the Easter Bunny in an Easter basket, which children find waiting for them when they wake up. Many families observe the religious aspects of Easter by attending Sunday Mass or services in the morning and then participating in a feast or party in the afternoon. Some families have a traditional Sunday roast, often of either roast lamb or ham. Easter breads such as Simnel cake, a fruit cake with eleven marzipan balls representing the eleven faithful apostles, or nut breads such as potica are traditionally served. Hot cross buns, spiced buns with a cross on top, are traditionally associated with Good Friday, but today are often eaten well before and after.59/

Easter celebrations around the world
Many Americans follow the tradition of coloring hard-boiled eggs and giving baskets of candy. The Easter Bunny is a popular legendary anthropomorphic Easter gift-giving character analogous to Santa Claus in American culture. On Easter Monday, the President of the United States holds an annual Easter egg roll on the White House lawn for young children. New York City holds an annual Easter parade on Easter Sunday.

In some countries where Christianity is a state religion, or where the country has large Christian population, Easter is a public holiday. Some European and other countries in the world also have Easter Monday as a public holiday. In Canada, both Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are public holidays. In province of Quebec, either Good Friday or Easter Monday (although most companies give both) are statutory holidays. Two days before Easter Sunday, on Good Friday, is a public holiday as well. In Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, both Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are public holidays. It is a holiday for most workers except some shopping malls which keep open for half day. Many businesses give their employees almost a week off called Easter break.

In the United States, Easter Sunday is a flag day but because Easter falls on a Sunday, which is already a non working day for federal and state employees, it has not been designated as a federal or state holiday. Few banks that are normally open on regular Sundays are closed on Easter. Some retail stores, shopping malls, and restaurants are closed on Easter Sunday, although this practice is declining. Good Friday, which occurs two days before Easter Sunday, is a holiday in 12 states. Even in states where Good Friday is not a holiday, many financial institutions, stock markets, and public schools are closed. Historically, schools have given extended spring breaks of one to two weeks around the Easter holiday, but this practice has been declining in favor of fixed one-week recesses around Washington's Birthday and in late April.
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References
frequently asked questions about Easter
handbook of christian feasts and customs

External links
Liturgical

Traditions

Calculating
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Resources:
  • Top photo: English: Victory over the Grave by Bernard Plockhorst. Part of the altarpiece at Berlin Immanuelkirche in Germany. Bernard Plockhorst was a German artist 1825-1907. The illustrations of the life of Jesus Christ by Bernard Plockhorst and Heinrich Hofmann were especially popular in the United States, and were often grouped together in Bibles and Christian Sunday School materials. The styles of these two artists were similar, possibly because they were both professors at the German Art School and worked together. This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. File from wikipedia commons
  • This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses some material from Wikipedia / article / and other related pages. 
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