Easter is the most important feast day of the Christian calendar though Christmas — the feast which commemorates the birth of Christ — is celebrated with greater pomp and show all over the world. Easter is the first and perhaps the only feast the early Christians knew till about the end of the 2nd century. The joy of Easter involves the greatest mystery of Christian faith — it is the day on which Christ conquered sin and death and rose alive in glory from the tomb where he had been buried on Good Friday.
Easter invariably falls on a Sunday — the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox. The equinox is the time when the sun crosses the equator and makes the day and the night of equal length. In the first half of the year this usually occurs about March 21; so, Easter cannot come earlier than March 22 and later than April 25. This year, Easter falls on April 4.
The word ‘Easter’ is believed to have been derived from the name of the goddess of spring, Eostra. A festival was celebrated in her honour every year in April. With the coming of Christianity the old gods were set side. Instead, this festival came to be celebrated in commemoration of the resurrection (rising from the dead) of Christ. The coming of spring with its bright sunshine and beautiful flowers has always been the cause of great joy. No wonder then that this festival celebrating the sun’s reappearance from its wintry grave has been transformed into the Christian feast of the rising of Christ from the dead.