The New Student's Reference Work/Easter
Easter, the festival of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, probably derives its name from Eastre, a Saxon goddess, whose festival was kept about the same time as Easter. In the ancient church, the celebration lasted eight days, but in later times it was limited to two or three days. It was a festival of pleasure; alms were given to the poor and slaves were often freed. Daily services were held during the whole week before Easter, and on Easter Day the people greeted each other with a kiss, saying: “He is risen,” to which the reply was made: “He is risen, indeed;” and this custom is still kept up in the Greek church. The custom of exchanging eggs as a symbol of resurrection or renewed life is very old. Easter Day is always the first Sunday after that full moon which comes upon or next after the 21st of March (the beginning of the old church-year), the full moon being understood to be (though not accurately) the 14th of the calendar moon. If the full moon comes on Sunday, Easter Day always is the Sunday after.