The joy and hope of Easter has been symbolized for centuries by decorated eggs, bunnies and baskets.
The Easter Rule, convened by the emperor Constantine, stated, "Easter shall be celebrated on the first Sunday that occurs after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox, or the first day of spring."
This means that Easter is celebrated on a Sunday between the dates of March 22 and April 25, which is associated with the lunar cycle. Easter celebrations have become more extravagant compared to its original purpose.
Before the second century, Eastre (Easter) was a pagan festival commemorating the goddess of offspring and of springtime. Early in the second century, the Christians converted the holiday into religious celebration, which today is called Easter.
Ashley Mahoney, a freshman from Atlanta, Ga., said Easter has always been a big part of her family tradition. "Each year, even as all the kids grow older, we each wake up to filled Easter baskets of candy and goodies," she said. Even though she is away from home, Mahoney and her family are still planning on uniting in Georgia over the Easter weekend.
Mahoney said, "It is a time for me to spend family time with the people I do not get to see much, my parents and siblings."
Spending time with family isn't the only tradition that Easter brings. The egg hunts, Easter baskets and the Easter bunny are continually associated with the Easter holiday.
The Easter egg could possibly be one of the most interesting customs associated with the holiday. While no one can actually say when the tradition of decorating eggs became associated with Easter, the actual decorating has been a time-honored tradition.
Patricia Zacharias of the Detroit News said, "The egg is the oldest and most universal symbol of rebirth and new life. The custom of offering Easter eggs, either chocolate or hard boiled and colored, dates back well beyond the early years of Christianity."
The tradition of the basket originates from the ancient Catholic custom of taking food to the Easter Mass to have it blessed. It was also used in ancient times to insure a good growing season. Today, the baskets are brightly colored, elaborate and full of sweets, toys and other items.
All of these items are assumed to be delivered by the Easter bunny. This Easter bunny symbol is the "deliverer" of the baskets on Easter. His (the rabbit is usually referred to as a "he") legacy dates back to Germany in the 1500s, according to Encarta Encyclopedia.