Easter is the most important festival in the church year: more important than Christmas. It begins with Good Friday which is the day the Romans killed Jesus Christ, in Jerusalem, about two thousand years ago.

Two days later, on Easter Sunday, Christians believe that Jesus returned to life.

Easter is now a Christian festival but the word “Easter” comes from “Eostre”, the pagan goddess of spring. Easter Day is the Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of spring (21st March). It is different every year, but always between 22nd March and 25th April.


Many animals and birds are born in the spring. So when people started to send Easter cards in the nineteenth century, the cards often had baby sheep, rabbits or birds on them.

Eggs are an important part of Easter because they mean spring and new life. One Easter tradition is “Egg-rolling”. People decorate eggs with different colours, then take the eggs to the top of a hill and the eggs roll down. The first egg to get to the foot of the hill is the winner.

On Easter Sunday, people give chocolate Easter eggs as presents. These eggs started in Europe in the early nineteenth century and came to Britain in the 1870s. Today some of the eggs are empty, others have small chocolates inside; some are very small, some very big.

Some mothers and fathers tell their children that the Easter Rabbit brings the eggs and hides them in the garden. The children must go outside and look for them.

Many people also eat hot cross buns at Easter. These are small loaves of bread, made with fruit and spices, and they have a cross on top. They are best hot, and there is an old song about them:

Hot cross buns, hot cross buns,

One a penny, two a penny,

Hot cross buns.

If you have no daughters,

Give them to your sons,

One a penny, two a penny,

Hot cross buns.

Some women and girls decorate hats, called Easter bonnets. They put lots of spring flowers on them, and wear them in Easter  bonnet parades.

Many people go to church on Easter Day. There are lots of flowers in the churches and people sing special Easter songs.

Easter Monday is a holiday for everyone, so a lot of people watch some sport, or go out for the day. Children usually have a week or two holiday from school around Easter.

(Text from Seasons and Celebrations - OXFORD BOOKWORMS 2)

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