Easter is the most important festival in the church year, more important than Christmas. People begin to get ready for Easter forty days before Easter Sunday. These forty days are called Lent, and they begin on Ash Wednesday. The day before Ash Wednesday is Pancake Day. During Lent, some Christians stop eating a favourite food, like sugar or chocolate.
Thirty-eight days after Pancake Day is Good Friday. On this day the Romans killed Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, about two thousand years ago. Christians think that Jesus came back to life two days later, on Easter Sunday.
Easter is now a Christian festival but the word ´Easter´ comes from ´Eostre´, the old name for the goddess of spring. Easter Day is the Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of spring. It is always between 22 March and 25 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 chickens on them. Eggs are an important part of Easter because they mean spring and new life. On Easter Sunday, people give chocolate Easter eggs as presents. Some mothers and fathers tell their children that the Easter Rabbit brings the eggs and hides them in the garden, and that the children must go outside and look for them.
Some women and children decorate hats, called Easter bonnets. They put lots of spring flowers, rabbits, or chickens on them, and wear them in Easter bonnet parades. And of course many people go to church on Easter Days. There are lots of flowers in the churches and people sing special Easter songs.
Maguire, J.: Seasons and celebrations. OUP 2008.
Lent – in the Christian religion, the 40 days before Easter, a period during which, for religious
reasons, some people stop doing particular things that they enjoy