Easter will be celebrated on Sunday. Check out some fun facts about this spring holiday.
According to the National Retail Federation, an estimated $18.4 billion in Easter-related spending is expected by U.S. consumers on candy, clothing, decorations and more in 2017.
While the exact origins of the Easter Bunny are unclear, the History Channel points to the fact that rabbits, known to be prolific procreators, are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. Some hold that the origin of the Easter Bunny ties into the Anglo-Saxon festival of Eastre, the spring goddess, whose symbol was a rabbit. However, the rabbit became associated with the celebration of Easter in America thanks to German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania in the 1700s, bringing along their tradition of an egg-laying hare called "Osterhase" or "Oschter Haws."
America's first Sunrise Service — an Easter Mass held early enough for congregants to witness the dawn's first rays together — was held in 1773 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, organized by the Moravians, which is a church with its roots in the present-day Czech Republic.
Jelly beans first became part of Easter celebrations in the 1930s.
After Halloween, Easter is the biggest candy consuming holiday.
The first edible Easter bunnies appeared in Germany in the 1800s, and were made from sugar and pastry.
Chocolate Easter bunnies are hollow for safety reasons. The hollow center of the traditional chocolate bunny helps make it easier to eat. It's also more economically viable for the candy confectioner.
Faberge Easter eggs, like the one displayed here, is a tradition originated in Russia where each intricately detailed egg was filled with its own surprise and given as a gift.
Some of the earliest Easter treats were hot cross buns, made by the monks. They are an Easter treat primarily eaten in Great Britain.
Marshmallow Peeps are celebrating their 64th anniversary in 2017. Each Easter season, Americans buy more than 1.5 billion Peeps, shaped like chicks, as well as Marshmallow Bunnies and Marshmallow Eggs.
Most countries celebrate Easter a bit differently, but Ethiopia celebrates Easter later than everyone, anywhere from a week to two weeks after the western Church (sometimes, they occur at the same time, due to the vagaries of the Eastern Orthodox calendar, which Ethiopians follows).
Easter eggs appear in many ancient traditions all over the world as a symbol for life, or life's beginnings. In medieval Europe, eggs were often one of the first foods — blessed by a priest of course — eaten after the Lenten fast.
The very first Easter baskets had the appearance of a birds nest, but baskets today come in all shapes and colors.
One of the most well-known Easter traditions in America is the annual Easter Egg Roll in Washington, D.C., that dates all the way back to President Andrew Johnson. The event was originally held on the grounds of the U.S. Captiol until the lawn was torn up following the 1876 event. Congress then passed a law in 1877 making it illegal to use the Capitol grounds as a children's playground. President Rutherford B. Hayes moved the event to the White House in 1878 and it has been held on the South Lawn since.