How Easter Works

Easter Sunday

Easter Eve mass, Cairo Easter Eve mass, Cairo
Parishioners attend Easter Eve mass at the Simon the Tanner Cathedral during Holy Week 2017 in Cairo, Egypt. The cathedral is built into a cave and situated in Manshayet Nasr, an area occupied mainly by Christians who collect the waste of Cairo. David Degner/Getty Images

­Easter Sunday celebrates Jesus' resurrection. Along w­ith Christmas, Easter is considered one of the oldest and most joyous days on the Christian calendar. Religious services and other Easter celebrations vary throughout the regions of the world and even from country to country. In the United States, many "sunrise services" are held outside on Easter morning. These early services are symbolic of the empty tomb that was found early that Sunday morning and of Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem before sunrise on the Sunday of his resurrection:

"Do not be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him." (Mark 16:6, NIV)

It is important to understand that Easter was not celebrated or mentioned in the Bible. Rather, the three-day period from Good Friday through Easter Sunday has become a traditional observance of when Christians believe that the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Christ occurred.