Do you want to know the History of Easter? Let me tell you first what is Easter. Easter (also know as Lent) its a whole season that last 40 days, and represents the days that Christ spent alone in the wilderness before he started his ministry, ending on the Holy Week, to be the most important day on Easter Sunday. Easter it's Christianity's most important day of this religion, because Easter Sunday celebrates the resurrection of Christ, but the history of Easter goes back even more than these events.
The celebration of Easter its a movable holiday, and its believed to be connected to another pagan celebration, even older than Christianity. The celebration was to honor the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of spring Eoster, and was celebrated on the Equinox.
Another old celebration that its believed to be related to Easter is the Jewish Passover, during this celebration was when Pontius Pilate accused Christ of blasphemy. After some time as an excuse to convert more people into Christianity, it was decided to celebrate the resurrection of Christ around this holiday, so Christianity would be easier to accept.
Like I said before, Easter is a movable festivity and at first was a lot of confusion in which day should start or be celebrated, but then the Emperor Constantine called his Council of Nicaea in 325, and ask them to decided which day should Easter be celebrated, after some time they came up with the solution, that it should be celebrated on the Sunday following the Equinox (march 21).
The most important days of Lent, are celebrated during the last week of the season, also know as Holy Week, starting a Sunday before Easter, called Palm Sunday (In this day Christ came to Jerusalem), Holy Thursday (On this day was celebrated The Last Souper), Good Friday (Crucifixion day), Holy or Silent Saturday, and finally Easter Sunday, or Resurrection Day.
At first Christians did not mind the celebration of Easter, but this changed when Constantine ordered that everyone on his court should wear their finest garments on Easter Sunday, and this also is consider the beginning of Easter Parade, because as time passed by more and more people started to gather and walk around the city showing their clothing.
And also Churches started to pay more attention to this celebration and started to organize processions and rituals to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. One of the most known rituals that the Roman Church celebrated, was a High Mass along with dramatic representations: A tomb was build and three deacons played the parts of Mary Magdalene, Mary of Nain and Mary of Bethlehem, who got inside the tomb and look for Christ, finding he was not there anymore.
Another ritual that was found on the History of Easter celebrations was the Sunrise Services. The first Sunrise Service on the history of Easter was celebrated in Hernhut, Germany, in 1732, this was because people believed that the Sun dances during the sunrise of Easter day, and they wanted to see it. Still on these days, people gets ready at least half an hour before the sun rises, and wait for it singing Easter hymns.
Trying to gather more people into Christianity, priests thought on the idea of take eggs, which were consider sacred during the pagan celebrations of Eostre because they hold the life within, and decorated them with paint and were told people that they were related to Christ's blood and His resurrection. After this was accepted, some churches (to be more specific on the medieval England), priests used to bless the eggs on Easter and give them to the churchgoers as a thank you for the Lord's Resurrection.
Years passed by and another tradition started to surface making the history of Easter richer, but this one was celebrated the Monday after Easter. The first recorded celebration during that Monday, or as we know it now Easter Monday, happened at Greenwich, England. It was an annual fair that lasted all day, one of the most common games played back in the day was the egg rolling (based on the idea of rolling the stone away that was on Christ's tomb), this game was brought to America thanks to British settlers.
For more information about Easter and some of the symbols related to the holiday, please follow the links to your right.