easter-egg-basket1When Is Easter 2013?

Easter 2013 falls on Sunday, March 31. This makes for a relatively early Easter, as the holiday is celebrated each year between March 22 and April 25. Why the date range? Christians in the West mark the holiday—a moveable feast commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Chris following his crucifixion—on the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox. It caps the 40-day period known as lent, when Christians reflect, repent, and sometimes give up vices.

Easter 2013, like all Easters before, coincides with the Jewish Passover, as Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us, was crucified after traveling to Jerusalem to observe that holiday. Easter is rife with religious significance, though for many secular Americans and non-observant Christians alike, it’s become more about pastel-colored Easter eggs and baskets of sweets—goodies that come via the Easter Bunny, a fictional character not unlike Santa Claus who’s in no way affiliated with Christian beliefs—than anything else.

Easter is always preceded by Good Friday, which marks Christ’s actual crucifixion. Good Friday 2013 falls on March 29. As for what the Easter Bunny has to do with the holiday, eggs have long been a symbol of fertility, and according to many sources, History.com reports, Easter derives from Eostre, an ancient Saxon goddess of spring and fertility. Eostre was sometimes depicted alongside a rabbit, and while the legend is thought to date back to the 1500s, it wasn’t until 1680, Discovery News reports, that the first story about an egg-hiding bunny hit the printing press. When Germans began settling in America in the 1700s, they brought the tradition with them, paving the way for what we now recognize as Easter. Pass the Peeps and Cadbury Eggs!

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