It’s coming up to Easter time. When I was a child I always looked forward to Easter because children would always get chocolate Easter eggs from relatives. I’d never thought about the history or meaning of Easter until recently when asked by students. So here you are.

In the UK Easter is one of the major Christian festivals of the year. It is full of customs, folklore and traditional food. However, Easter in Britain has its beginnings long before the arrival of Christianity. Many theologians believe Easter itself is named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the dawn and spring – Eostre.

In Britain Easter occurs at a different time each year. It is observed on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. This means that the festival can occur on any Sunday between March 22 and April 25. Not only is Easter the end of the winter it is also the end of Lent, traditionally a time of fasting in the Christian calendar. It is therefore often a time of fun and celebration.

The Friday before Easter Sunday and the Monday after are bank holidays in the UK. Over Easter, schools in the UK close for two weeks, just enough time to digest all the chocolate.

I still miss the selection of Easter eggs available in every supermarket across the U.K. Supermarkets tend to be much bigger than Japan so there’s much more variety.