Many Christians think Easter is the most important festival in the calendar.
"Easter is a holiday that celebrates the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. After his crucifixion, death, and burial, three days later, he arose from the grave. In doing so, he conquered death and redeemed us from sin if we believe in Him," as christian.com puts it.
"The significance of Easter is Jesus Christ's triumph over death. His resurrection means the eternal life that is granted to all who believe in Him."
But the word Easter doesn't occur in the Bible
The festival of Easter occurs at the same time as pre-Christian pagan festivals and some think the word came from them to denote the time of the festival.
One theory is Easter derives from a Saxon word, Eostre, a goddess of the Saxons who inhabited England after the Romans invaded. In that pre-Christian era, sacrifices were offered to Eostre.
"Another probability is the Norse eostur, eastur, or ostara, which meant 'the season of the growing sun' or 'the season of new birth'," according to christian.com. "The word east comes from the same roots. In this case, Easter would be linked to the changing of the season."
The Christian Easter coincides with the Jewish Passover. It may be that both festivals echoed the timing of a pagan tradition.
So what are Easter Bunnies all about?
Pagan, I'm afraid.
The origins of the Easter Bunny are unknown. Some historians believe German migrants took them to America and from America to the rest of us.
But rabbits are known as procreators and procreation is associated with new life and with spring (which it currently is in the northern hemisphere where all this western belief began). Easter eggs, similarly, have that association with new life.
Other foods associated with Easter have more of a religious significance. Hot cross buns are obviously symbolic of the crucifixion. One legend is an English monk - Brother Thomas Rodcliffe - baked buns for the poor and would put the cross on them to celebrate Easter on Good Friday, starting in 1361.
Some families in some parts of the world eat lamb.
A lamb was often used as a sacrificial animal in Jewish tradition and Christians use the phrase the "lamb of God" to refer to Jesus and his sacrifice.
But Catholics don't eat meat at Easter
Catholics do not believe there is anything wrong with meat but the Church does believe abstinence is a way of reflecting on God - and abstinence means abstaining from something desirable.
Catholics are urged to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and on the following Fridays through Lent, including Good Friday.
It is not an iron rule. Children are generally exempt and so are those who may be ill and who need the nourishment which meat provides.
St Paul talked about abstinence but he didn't mention meat. One Catholic group says: "It is precisely because meat is so good that we are asked to give it up at certain times. It wouldn't make a whole heck of a lot of sense if we offered something we considered bad as a sacrifice to God."
Why does Easter happen at different times of the year?
Easter Sunday this year is earlier than it was last year and the year before. It can happen on any Sunday between March 22 and April 25.
The exact date depends on the moon.
The early church put Easter as the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring (or vernal) equinox (when the sun is above the equator between high summer and the deepest winter).
Historians of religion say early Christians wanted Easter to coincide with the Jewish celebration of Passover.
"Because the Jewish calendar is tied to solar and lunar cycles, the dates of Passover and Easter fluctuate each year," Christian scholar, Mary Fairchild, wrote.
So is all this just taken from pagan times?
Many scholars believe t
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oday's festivals, though not their meaning, were the continuation of older celebrations.
Christmas, for example, is not that far from the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere when the days are at their shortest, particularly to mark the depth of the northern hemisphere winter and the emergence from it.
"Since the days following the winter solstice gradually become longer and less dark, it was ideal symbolism for the birth of 'the light of the world' as stated in the New Testament's Gospel of John," according to Brent Landau who lectures on religion at the University of Texas.
"Similar was the case with Easter, which falls in close proximity to another key point in the solar year: the vernal equinox (around March 20), when there are equal periods of light and darkness. For those in northern latitudes, the coming of spring is often met with excitement, as it means an end to the cold days of winter.
"Spring also means the coming back to life of plants and trees that have been dormant for winter, as well as the birth of new life in the animal world. Given the symbolism of new life and rebirth, it was only natural to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus at this time of the year."
Of course, in Australia in the southern hemisphere, all these references to new growth are exactly wrong. Easter comes when the days are getting shorter and Christmas when they are at their longest.
But we imported the view from Europe. Our idea of Easter came with the First Fleet.