Easter is the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion, which is marked on Good Friday. Canadians commonly refer to Easter as the period from Good Friday through Easter Monday.

For many Christians, the celebration of Easter is preceded by Lent, a 40-day period of penance that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. In French Canadian communities, this long period of fasting and abstinence was broken by Mid-Lent, a festive day originating in French tradition. The day is still celebrated in certain communities in Québec and Acadia such as Chéticamp and Saint-Joseph-du-Moine (Cape Breton Island), Fatima (Îles de la Madeleine), Natashquan and Pointe-Parent (Québec’s Côte-Nord region).

Like all religious celebrations, Easter has a complex history and there is debate over its origins. According to the Venerable Bede, a Christian scholar, the word “Easter” came from the Old English Eastre or Eostre, the name of the Great Mother goddess of the Saxon people, who was associated with spring and new life.

Some of the symbols we associate with modern Easter have more to do with spring than with religion and hearken back to the traditions of ancient peoples. Eggs, chicks, flowers and rabbits are all related to spring and
to the renewal of life after winter.

Canadians celebrate Easter much as it is celebrated in other western countries. Many Christians attend religious services on both Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and in general it is customary to mark the holiday with family gatherings, food, Easter egg hunts, or the exchange of chocolate eggs and bunnies or small gifts.
Happy Easter to all those celebrating!

References: The Canadian Encyclopedia. Easter in Canada. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/easter-in-canada

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