Easter is a Christian festival which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, on the third day after he was crucified on the cross.
His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Sunday, which also marks the end of Lent, the 40-day period of prayer, penance and fasting which begins on Ash Wednesday.
What do eggs have to do with Easter?
Eggs represent new life and when cracked open are said to symbolise an empty tomb after the miracle of Jesus; resurrection.
Originally eating eggs was forbidden in the week leading up to Easter. They were saved and decorated in the run-up to the celebration and given to children as gifts.
The first chocolate eggs appeared in France and Germany during the 19th century.
And the Easter Bunny?
The legend of the Easter Bunny is believed to have originated with the German Lutherans, where the ‘Easter Hare’ judged whether children had been good or bad in the run-up to Easter. A bit like Father Christmas.
Over time it has become incorporated into Christian celebrations and became popular in Britain during the 19th century.
If you are planning Easter or spring-themed activities within a childcare setting, we've put together a few ideas to keep your little ones 'hoppy' - with eggs and rabbits firmly at the fore.
Easter Egg match
Cut egg shapes from different coloured paper and draw simple designs on them - ensuring you have matching pairs. During circle time spread out the eggs in the centre and ask the children to find the pairs.
Fingerprint egg basket
This simple, but extremely cute, art project requires wallpaper scraps, paints, scissors and glue. Draw a basket shape on the wallpaper pieces and let the little ones hone their scissor skills by cutting it out. Glue onto a sheet of paper and then get the children to dip their fingers in different coloured paints to create eggs for the basket.
Easter Bunny Says
Adapt an old favourite - Simon Says - into Easter Bunny Says and instruct the children to run like a bunny, hop like a bunny, eat a carrot like a bunny etc.
Crack the shell
To the sound of soft music, children pretend to be tiny chicks in their shell by curling up in a ball on the floor. Slowly, the chicks use their beak to crack the shell and the tiny chicks emerge - stretching their arms, legs and neck.
Chocolate-related Easter facts:
OK, I concede, Easter wouldn't be the same without chocolate treats so we've compiled five fun facts for your delectation:
- Every child in the UK receives an average of 8.8 Easter eggs each year – double their recommended calorie intake for a week
- When people eat a chocolate bunny 76% bite off the ears first
- Easter-time sales make up 10% of UK chocolate spending for the year
- The tallest chocolate Easter egg, made in Italy in 2011, stood 10.39m high and weighed 7,200kg - taller than a giraffe and heavier than an elephant
- The average time for children to eat their first Easter egg is 11am on Easter Sunday morning