Occasions for greeting cards
The term "Easter" can probably be traced back to its origin in the Anglo-Saxon name for the Teutonic Goddess of Spring and Fertility, Eostre. During the Eostre season, many ancients thought the sun was reborn after months of winter death and celebrated Eostre when - after long, dark winters - day and night reached the same length and life returned with the spring (light) season. The Christian Easter festival however, known as the Resurrection, combined various pagan traditions and has claimed its own origin back directly to the Jewish Passover.
In 325 C.E., according to our time calculation, the Roman Emperor Constantine decided at the Council of Nicaea that Easter was to be celebrated each year on the first Sunday after the full moon following the 21st of March (when day and night are of equal length), i.e. between the 22nd of March and the 25th of April.
Because of various methods used in calculating the lunar orbit, various parts of the world celebrated Easter on various dates. It was not until 1752, the year of the Gregorian calendar adoption by Great Britain and Ireland, when the day for the Easter celebration was unified to the same date throughout all Western Christian countries. The Orthodox churches that have not really accepted the Gregorian calendar continued to celebrate the Resurrection on another day which has rarely coincided with the Western date for the festival (e.g. in 1865 and 1963). There have been various unsuccessful attempts to establish a fixed date for this movable festival.
Today, people in our modern society increasingly desire to celebrate the beginning of the light season (spring) with their relatives and close friends. As families and individuals are nevertheless spread out all over the whole world, they feel - more than ever before - they need some special means of communication.
Since the turn of the last century, this has been one of the reasons why the Easter card wishes have become the most popular media of communication during this particular holiday season. Although pagan, the Easter bunny and the egg, representing a symbol of fertility and respectively a symbol of new life, have retained their popularity as the most favorite motifs for Easter card wishes.
Text: Günter Garbrecht 2001, amended 2010
Translation: Marcel Valtr, 2011
Osterkartenmotiv um 1900