Saturday, March 30, 2024

Easter, a Moveable Holiday

Easter display outside our apt entry
Easter Sunday commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after being crucified by the Romans about 30 A.D. But, unlike holidays set on a specific date, this important Christian holiday is a movable feast which doesn't fall on the same predictable date every year. 

This also applies to its related religious days of Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Good Friday. None are fixed calendar dates, but are assigned according to a lunisolar calendar, which aligns the moon’s phases as well as the sun’s position in the sky. (Passover and other Jewish holidays also adhere to the lunisolar calendar.)

One thing is certain — Easter is always celebrated on the same day of the week, Sunday, and known as Easter Sunday or just Easter. 

Why does the date change; how is it determined? 
It hops around like the bunny associated with the holiday. In the Gregorian calendar, it's always observed on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25; but it can be observed between April 4 and May 8 in the Eastern Orthodox Church, many of which follow the Julian calendar.

It falls on the first Sunday after the full moon, also called the Paschal Full Moon, the first full moon of spring. It occurs on or shortly after the spring following the March or spring equinox. March 22 is the earliest Easter can occur in any year, April 25 is the latest. If the first spring full Moon falls on a Sunday, Easter will be observed the following Sunday.

The actual date of the spring equinox can differ by a day or two, but the spring equinox date used by the Catholic Church is always March 21. The astronomical date of the equinox can shift a day or two. In 2024, the astronomical date of the equinox was Tuesday, March 19. 

For those, who want to plan ahead, in 2025 Easter Sunday will fall on April 20.

Why are bunnies and eggs associated with Easter?
Our bunnies & eggs
What does a bunny have to do with a religious celebration? Quite frankly, nothing. The Bible doesn't mention a long-eared mammal bringing sweet treats to children. 

Some trace the bunny's arrival to the 1700s when German immigrants ,who settled in PA, transported the tradition of an egg-laying hare. Children made nests and the hare would lay colored eggs for Easter. As the custom spread, it expanded to include chocolate, other treats and gifts and decorated baskets replaced nests. 

Easter is the second best selling candy holiday in the U.S. beat out only by Halloween. It's believed that the end of Lent has helped popularize sales of Easter candy. That's because many Christians swear off sweets during this time. Easter marks the first day in over a month that they can indulge and they often do. 

Chocolate bunnies are the most commonly molded Easter chocolate. First handcrafted in the 1830s and 1840s, they became commonplace in the 1880s. We didn't buy chocolate bunnies this year. The brown bunny in the photo is from Dollar Tree; the white bunnies are washcloth creations given by a crafting friend.

Easter Egg Coloring: The custom of coloring eggs dates to ancient Middle East times when onion skins were used to color eggs. They were also decorated because of their importance. Many years ago during Lent, the time of fasting between Ash Wednesday and Easter, meat and also dairy products were given up and not eaten. It's believed that being able to eat eggs again was significant, they would be decorated to mark the end of fasting and then eaten in celebration.
We colored eggs as we do every Easter
Years ago during Lent, a time of fasting between Ash Wednesday and Easter, meat and dairy products were not eaten. It's believed that being able to eat eggs again was so important that they would be decorated to mark the end of fasting and then eaten in celebration. We always color eggs on the holiday, a long-standing tradition in our home and with the grands in their younger days. Unlike ourselves, the older ones have outgrown the tradition. 

1948's top musical film
Easter Parade: This tradition dates from the mid-1800s in NYC when society notables would attend Easter Sunday services at 5th Avenue churches, then stroll down the street after to show off their spring frocks and hats. Soon, onlookers started lining up along 5th Avenue to see the strollers. 

The tradition reached a peak in the mid 20th century and, in the 1948 film, Easter Parade, Fred Astaire and Judy Garland strolled along the avenue to the music of Irving Berlin. This film was the highest-grossing musical film of that year. We re-watch it every Easter. Our favorite scene is in the restaurant one with actor Jules Munshin air mixing a salad. It's a real classic.

Today, the parade tradition continues in NYC as 49th to 57th Streets are shut down to vehicular traffic on Easter. Other U.S. cities also host a parade including: Asheville (NC), Atlantic City (NJ), San Francisco (CA) .

A colorful egg collection, some bunnies and us
We're celebrating Easter at home in NH, as we did for Christmas, in keeping with a year of being home on major holidays. Previous years, we've travelled to visit family and friends on holidays. This year has been a relaxing change. We'll visit everyone later this year at non-holiday times.

Your Turn — Do you have any special 🐰 plans today?

Wishing all who celebrate a Happy 🐇 Easter
from Our Home to Yours


Rita said...

I know I had heard how they decide on which weekend is Easter weekend, but I didn't remember it all. Easter bunnies and eggs and Easter parades--yup--have nothing to do with Easter--LOL! So funny. But they are as fun as Santa Claus at Christmas, I guess. ;)

David M. Gascoigne, said...

It certainly has become a commercial bonanza!

Tom said...

...thanks for all of this background Easter information. I wish you a Happy Peaceful Easter.

Anvilcloud said...

Of course, you did a research essay for Easter. 😊

Have a good and quiet day over there. Don't eat too much chocolate.

On second thought, do. 😁

MadSnapper said...

Happy Easter, looks like someone was having a happy time coloring those eggs and I am thinking there will be no hiding of these eggs but a lot of eating...

Sandra said...

Lots of interesting information that I didn't know. I hope you two enjoy your day.

Marie Smith said...

Our Easter meal with family is Monday.

Have a great day you two! See you in a bit!

Jon said...

Many of the Easter traditions come from ancient spring festivals and fertiliy rites (rabbits, eggs, etc.) but it's a wonderful time of year. I still enjoy coloring eggs....and eating candy. Your photos are cute. I think it's a good idea to spend holidays at home, where you can relax.

Emma Springfield said...

You have no idea how much I enjoy seeing your decorations. They are always spirit-lifting.

DUTA said...

Bunnies and eggs (with or without coloring) are loved by us all. The Easter display outside your appartment is lovely!

My name is Erika. said...

Happy Easter to you both Dorothy. I always wondered how they figured out the date of Easter. I knew it had to do with the moon, but I didn't know the exact details. Thanks for filling me in. It's also interesting the story about eggs. I had heard it had to do with new life, and that after the Resurrection believing promised new everlasting life. But that was just what I had been told so who knows how true that story was. Most important is that you had a lovely holiday and had fun coloring those eggs. hugs-Erika

MARY G said...

Oh my goodness! Did I learn a lot. I did, I confess know about the moveable feast and the onion skin dye, but a lot of this is very interesting and a fine thing to read up on. Thank you. And Happy Easter to you.

DeniseinVA said...

You two are adorable! Loving all the decorations. Thanks for all the great info. Happy Easter my friends and have a great week ahead!

Barwitzki said...

Easter Saturday... visited the castle and had ice cream and had a nice meal in the evening... Easter Sunday in the countryside and Easter egg hunts, it was wonderful and cozy today for Easter Monday... we hung up Easter eggs, I baked and cooked and we had a lot of fun with each other... nature bursts forth in all its beauty, it is green and blooming wonderfully.
Happy Easter Monday to you both. The photos and your colorful Easter eggs are wonderful. Thank you very much.
Best regards

Barbara Rogers said...

Sorry, living near Asheville, I hadn't heard a word about an Easter Parade. When I looked on line, the Asheville Easter site invited folks to eat, go to Chimney Rock for a sunrise service, and to a nearby mountain town of Dillsboro for an Easter Hat parade on Saturday. So I guess wherever your info came from for Easter Parades in Asheville hasn't been updated...and I really don't remember them ever happening since I've lived here. But I just found out another significant event happened Mar. 31, that of honoring Trans people. So I don't know everything. Your egg dying does look like lots of fun!

Bijoux said...

I never knew eggs or dairy were given up for Lent, but I’m not Catholic. I’ve seen those washcloth bunnies used with a large ice cube inside for boo boos. I think the hospital gave them out when my kids were born.

My kids and grandkids came over. We hid plastic eggs with chocolate for the kids to find indoors. We had pork tenderloin and I made a coconut cream pie and a margarita/lime pie.

Marcia said...

We had dinner with the family members that are nearby. We will go see the rest of the family later this week.
We have more snow predicted! Snow from last week hasn't all disappeared either.

nick said...

We don't take much notice of Easter (neither of us is religious). We had some wine and a box of chocolates and that was it. I gather the price of chocolate eggs is shooting up due to a shortage of cocoa beans. But UK chocolate lovers still snap up about 80 million chocolate eggs over Easter!

Jeanie said...

I get all this but I don't care! It needs to be mid April! I hope yours was very happy! (And I love your bunnies and eggs!)

photowannabe said...

I really love your traditions. Coloring Easter eggs has always been fun and when the boys were still at home there was always an Easter basket for each of them on the fireplace hearth. there was a trail of jelly beans from their beds out to the fireplace to see what goodies they had gotten. the sons carried on the traditions with their families. Precious memories.
My Blog today is what we did for Easter this year.
Love your final photo of you and your handsome Hubby.

Rob Lenihan said...

Very informative post, as always. I had a lamb dinner with my family and was very grateful.

Veronica Lee said...

I enjoyed learning about the origins of Easter traditions, Dorothy.
Loved your Easter display outside your apartment.
And that photo of you two is adorable!

Happy Easter!

Christina said...

Easter dates are so confusing! Luckily, my work calendar knows the date. And now, I know why the date moves. Thank you.

I used to colour eggs with onion skins, very satisfying. First I would collect delicate herbs and stick them to the eggs with a little water, then wrap the egg and herbs in pieces of nylon tight, bound with some thread. Then the eggs were hardboiled in onion skin infusion. Once the nylon and herb is removed, the egg is a rich brown with the pattern of the herb in a more delicate beige-green colour.

This Easter Sunday, I mostly felt sorry for myself (I have a cold) but enjoyed a lovely roast chicken dinner cooked by Annie.

Lowcarb team member said...

Many thanks for sharing this information, an interesting read.

We were fortunate to spend time with the family over the Easter weekend, which was lovely.

I can't believe we are now in April, the year seems to be passing by so quickly.

Sending my good wishes.

All the best Jan

Lowcarb team member said...

Yes, blogger definitely doesn't like me!
My earlier comment has disappeared already...

All the best Jan

Michelle said...

I love the egg coloring photo!

Debby said...

We colored eggs with my grandson. We went to my sister's for a family pot luck on Sunday. We had an Easter egg hunt for the kids.

midorilinea said...

Such an interesting read, I didn't know that about eggs during the easter holiday! Your egg coloring came out lovely, thanks for sharing and I hope you have an amazing Spring season!

xoxo, Midori