Although the Christian festival of Easter is more commonly known as a commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ, the season was celebrated long before this by Pagans. For Christians the egg therefore symbolizes new life, a tradition that has survived into modern times where it is epitomized in the form of the chocolate eggs we now see at Easter time.
The festival of Easter stretches back to pre-Christian times as well, where the changing of the seasons and the renewed life of Earth during the months of March and April were a time of Pagan celebration. More Easter symbols, including the Easter Bunny, can be traced back to Pagan times.
Decorating hard-boiled eggs at Easter time is another well known tradition and one that stems from the belief that the first eggs ever given at Easter were bird's eggs. As a result, these eggs were painted in bright colours, which would give them further meaning as a gift - and so the practice continues.
The tradition of colouring eggs in bright colours, representing the rainbows, sunlight and fresh colours of spring, dates back to the Middle Ages and is still an important custom for many Christians today. In fact, in Germany it is traditional to paint eggs green and eat them on Maundy Thursday - the Christian feast or holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter - which commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles. What's more, in Greek and Slavic cultures, eggs are dyed red which displays a symbol of the blood of Christ.
Egg rolling is a popular Easter activity in Britain and is usually carried out on Easter Monday - where people across the country will roll their decorated eggs down a hill. Depending on where in the country you are, the winner may be determined by the egg that rolls the farthest, survives the most rolls, or is rolled between two pegs. A lesser known fact is that the date of Easter Sunday changes from year to year due to the fact it is based on the lunar calendar. It is celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon, on or after March 21st.
Now that you have a sure-fire way of working out when Easter Sunday is, in future you will have plenty of time for finding Easter chocolate gifts, baking some hot cross buns and finding a good hill to roll your painted eggs down. Also, remember to do Easter Egg Hunts with all those chocolates, hide them very good and the kids will love the hunt.