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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 April, 2004, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Does Easter have any meaning?
Traditional Easter eggs, depicting Jesus Christ and other religious themes, lie in a basket at an Easter traditions fair in Bucharest, Romania
The Easter story is at the heart of Christianity, commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

But some argue that its been secularised and commercialised.

Before Christianity there was a pagan festival called Eastre.

Predating Easter many cultures recognised the egg as a symbol of rebirth. They were exchanged in springtime, either wrapped in gold leaf or brightly coloured.

What does Easter mean to you? Is there more to it than chocolate eggs and a long week end? Send us your comments.

If you have any good Easter photos send them to yourpics@bbc.co.uk

This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of the opinions we have received:

Just reading the intense bitterness of the anti-religion comments makes me realize how important Christ's resurrection was. His love carried no baggage and everyday, I long to be more like him in the way he loved. Many people and in fact, nature itself celebrate renewal through Spring and I'm glad that we celebrate Easter at this time, as Christ was a fulfilment of God's creation. Nothing coincides better with new life than True life.
Annamaria, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

You should rephrase your question to say, what does Easter mean to you? As a catholic, Easter means I cannot fear death for I know that Jesus Christ has conquered death and risen again and therefore Jesus showed me that death is but only a doorway into everlasting life, provided of course I keep all his commandments.
Timeon Ioane, Tarawa, Kiribati

He touched so many people's hearts with preaching forgiveness, compassion, and kindness
Maria, UK

One can choose to see this as a "fairy tale." But the fact is that a man was mocked and brutalized. Yet he preached forgiveness and understanding as they nailed him to the cross. That is what Easter means to me. We know and hear more about this gentleman because he touched so many people's hearts with preaching forgiveness, compassion, and kindness. Probably very radical in those times, and apparently still very radical today.
Maria, UK

For the more intelligent among us Easter has only two positive points: No work and Chocolate! One day all religion will be forgotten and we will be free from war, as religion breeds hatred and incites violence.
G Michael, London, England

I am sorry to disagree with a few people on this board but as a Catholic I was brought up to believe that Easter Sunday was the most important day in the Christian calendar. Good Friday is the day of Christ's ultimate sacrifice but Easter Sunday is the day he rose again defeating death and evil.
Gerry, Scotland

On Easter day Christians all over the world celebrate the freedom given to us by our Lord Jesus.
Jonathan Akpan, Banjul, The Gambia

I remember Easter less than I remember Good Friday in our house
Patrick, Philadelphia

Raised Catholic, I am not very religious these days. I remember Easter less than I remember Good Friday in our house - a day all of us children dreaded more then any other religious observance. The guilt placed on our heads for God's voluntary sacrifice may go a long way towards explaining why I do not attend church anymore. My wife was not raised religious and the whole thing is a creepy mystery to her.
Patrick, Philadelphia, USA

In my mother's religion, Good Friday is the holiest day of the year. It is considered going against Jesus' express wishes to put Easter above Good Friday. So I suppose that for me, Easter means a lot of Christians apparently not getting it.
Charlene, Calgary, Canada

As an African from Nigeria, Easter means very good "jellof rice" and goat meat! It has nothing to do with chocolates! What is more important is that without the resurrection of Christ there would have been no Christianity!
Uche, Port of Spain, Trinidad

Britain is still a predominantly and profoundly Christian country
Desmond Persaud, Hampstead

Yes, the celebration of Easter is central to the Christian faith. And the passion with which we celebrate it reminds us that, despite the best attempts of secularism and commercialism, Britain is still a predominantly and profoundly Christian country. For most people in this country, the faith of our fathers remains the fundamental basis of our society and culture. And I am very happy to celebrate that with chocolate and wine!
Desmond Persaud, Hampstead, London

To me Easter only means higher than usual travel tickets and a few days off.
Daniel, London

I'm from an Irish catholic family I've been brought up to give kindness, love and trust and most of all respect to others. Easter is a time for us all to get together and show our love, have fun, feast and remember our saviour Christ. It is he who showed us this and best of all peace. Easter is more than chocolate eggs it's a time to remember that Jesus died and rose from the dead. The world would be a better place if everyone were to take a few leaves out of Jesus' book. Let there be peace.
Brian, Manchester

Easter was originally a pagan holiday which coincides with the spring equinox; I'll skip the chocolate, celebrate the improved weather and wish everyone a happy Bank holiday.
Chantal, London, UK

Easter to me is the crux of history. It is also the foundation of the Christian faith, for if Christ wasn't resurrected, then the whole of Christianity is a sham! But ultimately I'm overawed by God's love for me by him dying on the cross.
Michael, London

As an atheist, Easter has no relevance or importance to me except that there's rather more on telly to avoid; as a Weight Watcher I also avoid the chocolate. Nice few days off though.
Maddie, East Kilbride, Scotland

Since I was a kid Easter has only meant one thing to me: chocolate!
Keith, Halifax, Canada

For me, Easter is the transformation in life to a new life in Christ. This Easter I have been confirmed into the Catholic faith. The symbolism of the bread and wine is the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ alive and experienced through faith and grace in the Holy Spirit. The Easter egg for me is the resurrection of Christ walking away from the tomb, with victory over death and gaining eternal freedom for us all. Our sins have been forgiven. Easter is the fulfilment of the scriptures by Christ as foretold in Isaiah. Sadly too many individuals today believe only in the power of destruction through Satan and evil, instead of the healing power of the Holy Spirit.
Gavin Lucas, Newport Pagnell

Easter is the civilized world's most spiritual holiday, it is the day when our lord was risen from death to forgive all human sins, and the idea of tolerance.
Bryane Lord, Delray Beach, Florida, USA

Easter is a reminder that Jesus is the only hope the world has. If all we see is bunny rabbits and chocolate eggs then we're certainly all doomed.
Nick, Heathfield, East Sussex

I am amazed that you have the gall to ask such a question. You would not ask the same question of a Muslim or Hindu festival.
Phil Davies, Evesham, UK

Easter has great meaning to me as a Catholic and other Christians the world over. It represents the true meaning of Christianity, a truth that the cynics who knock Easter and Christianity will never understand.
Robert Bennett, Nantwich, Cheshire

Easter is at the heart of Christianity
Jessica, Three Hills, Canada
I definitely believe that Easter is at the heart of Christianity. Jesus' death and resurrection is what makes us Christians (followers of Christ), and so, for us to remember what he has done is so vital to our faith.
Jessica, Three Hills, Canada

The message of Easter is one of re-birth, hope and redemption for a people who have lost their way. We are reminded of our potential to be a better person and that caring for our fellow man is our highest calling. We need this message now more than ever.
Peter Vevang, Minneapolis, USA

Instead of 'Easter Sunday', a more appropriate name for this holiday would be 'Cadbury Shareholder's Sunday'
Andy, Sutton, Surrey

According to the Oxford dictionary Easter is the Christian celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Why do cynical, disillusioned people think they speak for all of us?
Austin Amadasun, Lagos, Nigeria

Easter is a celebration of Jesus' resurrection and our own resurrection on the Day of Judgement. There is no place for any commercialisation or secularisation of this High Holy Day.
Dietrich Tormohlen, Muncie IN, USA

What Easter should do is provide a time in which the family can get together and enjoy some moments away from every-day affairs. Eggs and chocolate can be had at any time of year, so I don't understand this obsession that some people display about "Easter eggs". I'm happy that Greek Orthodoxy, of which I am part, has kept the Easter traditions going for a very long time now, and, in Greece, Easter is still a time for families to get-together.
Christian, London, UK

I celebrate Easter. I have never heard anything about that bunny...
Montse, Spain
I am catholic, I celebrate Easter. I have never heard anything about that bunny... I suppose it is an Anglo-Saxon tradition, but I don't think it has anything to do with the real meaning of Easter
Montse, Spain

While it's a shame that there is some religious claptrap associated with Easter, I just treat it as a nice break from work. And of course there are always the Easter eggs to devour!
Phil, Newcastle, UK

Easter serves no purpose for the vast majority of younger people, other than the receiving of chocolate eggs. Ask most children under 16 to tell you the Easter story accurately and they couldn't. When the public image of religion in the world is a couple of old priests moaning about a Madonna concert in Dublin in August as it falls on a Sunday, then it is no wonder at all.
Paul, Hong Kong

Easter is one of the most beautiful feast that we celebrate in Egypt, Copts (Christian Egyptians) as well as Muslims and that is because it is a Pharaonic feast ...on that day that we call in Arabic "sham el nassim" we eat eggs, fish and all sort of green vegetable. We like on that day to spend the day in gardens and parks
Firdaus, Cairo, Egypt

Easter, for me, is the essence of the religion I believe. It makes all the difference from everything around. Regardless of the holidays or popular culture, Easter for me is time to reflect the meaning of 'life' and 'death'. I am thankful that Jesus Christ assures all of us with eternal life. Peace be on earth!
Mi Mi Khine, Burma,

It represents the chance we have to be in touch with God's promises
Raimundo L Santos, Belo Horizonte

Easter has indeed a great meaning for Christians all around the world. It represents the chance we have to be in touch with God's promises. Jesus is our only hope to eternal life. The real Christianity will never be deteriorated, as it is in our hearts and souls and cannot be represented by bunny stories or eggs. Only those that don't know its true meaning would argue Christian holidays have deteriorated. Have a look around and see the great works of Christianity that are not usually on the spot light of the media.
Raimundo L Santos, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

I am not religious but I see Easter as a celebration of spring and the day off.
Lucie Stankova, Ostrava, Czech Republic

I am happy that Easter has become secularised. It should be a time of family enjoyment and leisure. The less cloudy religion we attach to this holiday, the better.
Tom, UK

Christ's death and resurrection constitute the only hope for humanity... our only chance at a relationship with the divine and the only path to eternal life. Can anything be more important than this?
Chris, Oxford, England

Easter is a nice four day break from work to have fun and eat more treats then we normally do. People should play more.
Chris Davies, Chippenham, UK

I am a Roman Catholic, but in the new age in which we are living religion has become just another product. Lets hope that by religion being another product in the shelf it doesn't go out of fashion; if so we can lose the only thread that is holding us to our true essence.
Labris, Sydney

Easter is a spiritually uplifting time. For me and many Christians it represents the death and resurrection of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Jesus shed his blood so we can be cleansed of our sins. There is no greater love. Thank you Jesus.
Thomas Boytee George, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Only Christianity would allow such a sacred day to deteriorate into a bunny story
Jim Henry, Dubai, UAE
Only Christianity would allow such a sacred day to deteriorate into a bunny story. There's not another religion on earth that has so degraded its own religious holidays as Christianity has. Try and imagine Islam allowing anything as ridiculous as a bunny to stand in for the death of a prophet.
Jim Henry, Dubai, UAE

Easter is a time to reflect on the purpose of why God created. It's a time to recognize the love that is supposed to be felt in life. And we do this through remembering the last days of live of Jesus which was a symbol of love. Easter is a time to remember because as humans we forget the things that really matter.
Maria, Tanzania

The spring equinox has always been celebrated and Christmas and Easter were both adopted by Christians but the dates have no actual connection to any Christian event. Indeed there is no actual historical evidence that Christianity is anything more than a political construct of myths from ancient Egyptian Isis virgin birth worship and Zoroastrianism, used by the Emporer Constantine to damp down political dissent.

Provably there are statues in the Middle East serving as depictions of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus which are much older and are actually depictions of the Goddess Isis holding Horus.
Keith L, Rayleigh, England

I prefer working during the Easter holidays because the office is quiet and I get more work done (also surfing the net). The roads are also very quiet. But the main thing is that most bank holidays it rains and the weather is bad. I prefer the two days off at a time of my choice.
Neil Brown, Aberdeen, Scotland

It's the only time I indulge on an expensive dress without the guilt.
Jeannette M, Miami, FL, USA

It is the basis of the religion I believe
Mike Daly, Miami
Good Friday and Easter have a lot of meaning to me personally. It is the basis of the religion I believe. I'm sure there are a lot of cynic's out there saying whatever, but hopefully they will someday come to realize what this time of year is all about.
Mike Daly, Miami, FL, USA

Would you believe that before the story of Jesus there were actually good people living on the earth that also believed in rebirth, spring, new life, love and promises of better things after this life? It's not like Jesus has the copyright on it...
Chase, Pennsylvania

I am a Christian, so Easter as a remembrance of the death and resurrection of Jesus is important to me. I also appreciate the new life that comes at this time of year in nature.
David Young, Duffield, England

It is one of those times I'm forced to think seriously about why I'm alive today, why I have hope despite the mess in this murky world and what should really be my priorities in life. His suffering, death and resurrection remind me that Yahweh God and Father, is the God of unconditional love and unfathomable ability, and that He wants me just to be like any other small child responding to his/her father's love.
SC, Maputo

Easter Eggs!
Brendan, Belfast, N Ireland

Christ's near-death experience saved the world - from what? War? - No! Starvation? - No! Disease? - No! Hate? - No! Circumcision? - Yes! How can people continue to live lives based on the unquestioning belief in fairy tales?
Albert, UK

People's self indulgent commercialism and humanism are simple distractions that enamour only the child. I find this holiday especially sweet to my spirit as it remembers that Jesus Christ is the only one that makes rebirth possible for everyone.
Drake, New Jersey

It is a time of rejuvenation
Sean, Brussels

Easter is intended as a time of examination of conscience, with the intention of developing oneself into a contributor to the well being of society. It is a time of rejuvenation. Spring, if you like, after the winter. Mindless frenetic chocolate binges, cards, bunnies and commercialism are the best modern atheistic society can come up with to rival this necessary period of self examination.
Sean, Brussels, Belgium

A simple belief in Christ's resurrection. Simplicity brings strength which is needed even in a common modern life.
David Wang, Taipei, Taiwan

Easter for me is all about celebrating the renewed vital energy that can be felt all around us. The sap is rising. It makes us feel good and that is worth celebrating. It's a way of looking at life doing its thing and saying "Yeah, I'm part of that and I'm glad to be here."
Rebecca Holton, Halifax, UK

Easter is a time of new birth - physically and spiritually. It reminds us that there is more to life than what we can see around us.
Colin, Glasgow

Chocolate eggs are nice and yummy but let's not miss their deeper symbolism of new life - Jesus overcame death to give new life and peace... surely a message our world needs at this time.
Mary, Australia

Easter is as special as you want it to be. It is only now so commercialised because we as consumers have made it so.
Mark, Hull, England

I'd rather celebrate the natural turning of the seasons
Brian Rose, Seoul

Christianity, like all religions, is just as financially motivated as Cadburys. Easter is something I am blissfully unaware of here in South Korea... Each to his/her own, I guess, but I'd rather celebrate the natural turning of the seasons and ignore the immature ranting of the religionists.
Brian Rose, Seoul, South Korea

For the Polish community in UK, as in Poland, it is the most important and emotive religious event of the year.
Mike Oborski (Consul RP), Kidderminster, Worcs, UK

Take the chance to find out what Easter means by going to see "The Passion" and checking out an Alpha Course at a church near you.
John McClean, Ireland

Easter has no religious connotations for me. It is simply a long weekend holiday with a bit of chocolate thrown in. Religion is simply a waste of time and money.
Ralph, Croydon, UK

It really gives a sense of things coming back to life
CS, York, UK
To me Easter weekend means rolling up my sleeves and getting into the first serious bit of gardening of the year. It really gives a sense of things coming back to life, gives our children a rest from rampant commercialism and it's better than being stuck in traffic somewhere!
CS, York, UK

Easter to me means remembering that Jesus Christ gave his life for me so that I can know God as my friend and have a relationship with him. I don't know how I would live my life without him, and I am so sorry that people see chocolate and Easter eggs instead of the prospect of peace and hope now and in eternity.
Ali, Bury St Edmunds, UK

Just like Christmas, Easter can be as commercialised or as spiritual as YOU decide for yourself.
Ed Anthony, Cambridge, England

I like Easter. I'm not a religious person but I think that the chance to have a few days off work (if you're lucky enough to get this now) and to meet up with family and friends is always a good thing. I also think that it's good to celebrate Spring as it's a beautiful time of the year with new life everywhere.
Helen, Exeter, UK

My annual chocolate binge
Martin, England
It means: Fewer commuters battling for my space. Traffic chaos as people cluelessly drive somewhere other than their normal commute. A lovely long paid weekend. Most importantly, my annual chocolate binge.
Martin, England

It's just another excuse for a couple of public holidays. It's also an opportunity for the chocolate companies to turn in a quick profit. The religious aspect has no meaning to me, I'm an secular humanist atheist.
Dougie Lawson, Basingstoke, UK

The meaning of Easter is what those celebrating it want to make of it. There is nothing wrong with giving chocolate eggs and gifts if it is in the spirit of sharing the kind of love inspired by Jesus. Remember Him on this day and spread his love. What more could he want you to do?
Jason, Detroit, USA

As an atheist, it means nothing to me other than a well deserved break from work! The Christians hijacked it for their own purposes. So what if sweet/card companies and supermarkets hijack it for commercial purposes?
Martin, Coventry, UK

Birth and regeneration. Nature is a wonderful thing. Shame that the Christians had to pinch a pagan idea.
Pauline Yates, Suffolk

I overheard a child in Asda say to his mother, 'It's Christmas again!' Judging by the gifts, chocolates and cards it's become every bit as commercial and meaningless.
Robert, Manchester, England

Like Christmas, it has been commercialised.
John, Maidstone, UK


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