Composed of a few potential holidays, Easter tends to prompt some questions each year: When is it? Do I get the Friday or the Monday off? And what do Jesus and bunnies have to do with each other? So in order, in 2014, Easter Sunday is on April 20, most offices close for Good Friday (which will be April 18, 2014), and as far as that last one goes, well, it's a little more complicated.
Easter is the holiday commemorating Jesus Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, making it the most important holiday in the Christian calendar. Churches see more congregants in their pews on Easter Sunday than at any other service of the year. According to Christian beliefs, because of Jesus' sacrifice and taking on of the burden of sins, all Christians can go to heaven.
Easter's date changes each year, based on a calendar put in place by Pope Gregory XIII (pope from 1572 to 1585) and calculated using a complicated system that includes a variety of ecclesiastical rules and calendar, notes the Guardian. One hard and fast rule remains that it can never occur before March 22 or later than April 25.
From a non-religious perspective, however, it's easy to see why many think Easter consists only of pastel colours and candy-coated eggs. Much as Christmas has been usurped by Santa Claus, stores have taken on the Easter Bunny as their mascot of the season. But does he have anything to do with Easter itself?
As it turns out, there is a tangential link to bunnies with Easter, but it doesn't have much to do with Christianity. Easter's proximity to the start of spring means that traditions from other religions have long been associated with the time period. According to Discovery, the goddess of spring and fertility, Eostra, is symbolized by a rabbit, and when people worshipped different gods and goddesses, those celebrations often included honouring the dawning of the new season.
With Easter coming at the end of April this year, we can only hope that means spring blooms and sunshine will help to usher it in.
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