Friday Fives: The Top Five Things You May Not Know About Easter

Then Jesus loudly cried out once again and gave up his life. Suddenly, the curtain in the temple was split in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split open. The tombs were opened, and the bodies of many holy people who had died came back to life. They came out of the tombs after he had come back to life, and they went into the holy city where they appeared to many people. Matthew 27:50-53

Many believe that Easter is the most important holiday. It’s certainly in the top 2. So, as we prepare to honor the most pivotal week in the history of mankind, Friday Fives celebrates the season with the top five things you might not know about Easter.


#5 Easter Egg Rolling was Once Declared Illegal

One of the most well-known celebration traditions for Easter is the annual White House Easter Egg roll, first rolled out under President Andrew Johnson. However, by 1876, the annual event had done so much damage to the Capitol landscaping that they couldn’t afford to repair it. So the following year, U.S. Rep. William Steele Holman of Indiana introduced the Turf Protection Act “to prevent any portion of the Capitol grounds and terraces from being used as play-grounds.” Congress passed the Act. However, the prohibition only lasted a year. President Rutherford B. Hayes re-started the tradition in 1878.

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#4 How the Easter Sunrise Service Originated

The first Easter Sunrise Service in America is traced to 1773 when it was organized by Moravians in Winston-Salem North Carolina. (The Moravians trace their history to the present day Czech Republic.) The service commemorates the empty tomb that Mary discovered at first light of day on Easter morning. The most well-attended sunrise service is thought to be the one held for the past 88 years in the Hollywood Bowl, which has a capacity of 17,000.

Easter Sunrise Service, Hollywood Bowl


#3 The Celebration of Resurrection with Kites

The story is told in Bermuda of a teacher who wanted a way to demonstrate’s the Lord’s resurrection. So the teacher made kites decorated with the Lord’s image and gave them to the children to fly. Now, Easter week is marked in that nation with thousands of colorful kites flying all over the island.

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#2 The Use of Easter Eggs as Birth Certificates

In the 19th century, the celebration of Easter was so important in parts of Germany – and such a fundamental part of life – that Easter eggs were accepted as birth certificates. The dyed egg would be inscribed with the person’s name and birth date. It was considered a legal record.

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#1 The Reason Easter Falls on Varying Dates Year by Year

The answer is somewhat complicated, but, put as simply as I can:
Many important holidays fall on the same date each year. Obviously, not Easter. The early believers wanted to keep the observance of the Lord’s resurrection tied to the Jewish Passover – as it was when Jesus was crucified. It makes sense, since both holidays allowed for the salvation of God’s people. And, since the Jewish holiday calendar is based on solar and lunar cycles, each feast day is movable, with dates shifting from year to year. Today, Easter is celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the first Paschal (Passover) Full Moon following March 21, which is actually tied to historical events and not necessarily to the lunar cycle. (Don’t ask…)

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