The precise origins of this day’s name are not completely known. A few sources assert the word Easter is derived from Eostre, a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility. Different records follow Easter to the Latin expression hebdomada alba, or white week, an old reference to Easter week and the white apparel wore by individuals who were purified through water amid that time. Through an interpretation error, the term later showed up as esostarum in Old High German, which in the end got to be Easter in English. Easter is known as Pascua in Spanish and Paques in French. These words are from the Greek and Latin Pascha or Pasch, for Passover. Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection happened after he went to Jerusalem to observe Passover, the Jewish celebration remembering the old Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. Pascha inevitably came to mean Easter.
Easter is truly a whole season of the Christian church year, rather than a single day recognition. The 40-day period paving the way to Easter Sunday, called Lent, is a period of reflection and repentance where Jesus spent a time alone in the wild before beginning his ministry, a period in which Christians trust he survived different allurements by the devil. The day preceding Lent, known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, is a last hurrah of fun and food before the fasting starts. The week before Easter is called Holy Week and incorporates Maundy Thursday, which recognizes Jesus’ last dinner with his disciples; Good Friday, which respects the day of his crucifixion; and Holy Saturday, which concentrates on the move between the crucifixion and resurrection. The 50-day period taking after Easter Sunday is called Eastertide and incorporates a festival of Jesus’ rising into heaven.
Other than Easter’s religious importance, it has become a holiday characterized by jelly beans, marshmallow chicks (peeps), and an assortment of other kinds of candy. Similarly as with Christmas, throughout the hundreds of years different society traditions and pagan customs, including Easter eggs, bunnies, baskets and treats, have turned into a standard part of this holy holiday.
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