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Like many holidays, Easter has its roots in both religious and pagan celebrations. In religious terms, Easter is the most holy Christian holiday, because it is the celebration of Jesus' death and resurrection.
But the holiday also signifies the coming of spring, rebirth and renewal. In fact, the word Easter is derived from the Scandinavian fertility goddess "Ostra," whose festival was associated with the spring equinox.
Easter's most well known symbols are the egg and the rabbit, both of which are associated with fertility. In Medieval Europe, eggs were forbidden during Lent, and then were brightly painted and given to children at Easter. In Greece, eggs are died red to signify Christ's blood. The Germans poke holes in their eggs, blow out the insides, and hang them on trees. In Russia and Eastern Europe, eggs are often elaborately painted in silver and gold or covered in wax.
Other fun facts:
It's estimated that Americans will consume $1.9 billion worth of candy this Easter, according to the National Confectioners Association.
Irving Berlin wrote the words to "Easter Parade" in 1933.
Beatrix Potter published The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1902.
Andrew Johnson was the first U.S. President to hold an Easter egg roll for children on the White House lawn.
Easter eggs is another term for hidden bits of code programmed into computer software.
Jellybeans were first made in America by Boston candy maker William Schrafft, who ran advertisements urging people to send jellybeans to soldiers fighting in the Civil War.
Pretzels were originally associated with Easter. The twists of a pretzel were thought to resemble arms crossed in prayer.
The white lily, the symbol of the resurrection, is the special Easter flower.