This is from Garrison Keillor’s “The Writer’s Almanac”:

Today is the Christian holiday of Easter Sunday, the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead three days after his crucifixion. Easter is a moveable feast; in other words, it’s one of the few floating holidays in the calendar year, because it’s based on the cycles of the moon. Jesus was said to have risen from the dead on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring. For that reason, Easter can fall as early as March 22nd and as late as April 25th. Easter also marks the end of the 40-day period of Lent and the beginning of Eastertide; the week before Easter is known as Holy Week and includes the religious holidays Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

The word “Easter” and most of the secular celebrations of the holiday come from pagan traditions. Anglo Saxons worshipped Eostre, the goddess of springtime and the return of the sun after the long winter. According to legend, Eostre once saved a bird whose wings had frozen during the winter by turning it into a rabbit. Because the rabbit had once been a bird, it could still lay eggs, and that rabbit became our Easter Bunny. Eggs were a symbol of fertility in part because they used to be so scarce during the winter. There are records of people giving each other decorated eggs at Easter as far back as the 11th century.