Easter in the western Christian church can occur as early as March 22 and as late as April 25. It is observed on the Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon, which occurs on or shortly after March 21 (a fixed spring date set by the church). The Paschal Full Moon date was determined by calculations made in a.d. 325 that did not consider all factors of lunar motion, so it may differ from the actual full Moon date by a day or so.
This Christian holy day celebrates the resurrection of Christ after his Crucifixion and was probably the earliest of the church's annual festivals. Folk customs attached to the festival date from pre-Christian times:
* Eggs, traditionally forbidden during Lent, symbolize new life.
* The Easter Bunny recalls the hare, the Egyptian symbol of fertility.
Easter may have derived its name from the Saxon goddess Eostre, whose feast was celebrated each spring at about this time. Or it may have derived from the word oster, meaning "rising."
Died 1812: George Clinton became first U.S. vice president to die in office
1902: French scientists Pierre and Marie Curie isolated radium chloride from pitchblende
Born 1905: Stanley Marcus (retailer)
Born 1908: Lionel Hampton (jazz musician)
1912: Boston's Fenway Park hosted its first professional baseball game. The Boston Red Sox played the New York Highlanders (now the Yankees).
Died 1912: Bram Stoker (author)
1940: Electron microscope demonstrated to public
Born 1949: Jessica Lange (actress)
Born 1961: Don Mattingly (baseball player)
1968: Pierre Elliott Trudeau was sworn in as 15th Prime Minister of Canada
Born 1976: Joey Lawrence (actor)
1979: During a fishing trip, an upset swamp rabbit approached President Carter’s boat, Plains, GA
Died 1992: Benny Hill (comedian)
Died 1996: Christopher Robin Milne (son of A.A. Milne, basis for the Winnie the Pooh character Christopher Robin)
Born 2000: Funny Cide (thoroughbred race horse, won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2003)
2006: Tony Gemignani spun 17.6 ounces of dough for 2 minutes to form pizza base 33.2 inches wide, in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Died 2010: Dorothy Height (civil rights activist; she stood on the platform with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during his historic "I Have a Dream" speech)