“Easter is a Christian holiday that celebrates the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. In the New Testament of the Bible, the event is said to have occurred three days after Jesus was crucified by the Romans and died in roughly 30 A.D.” The History Site
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
“The holiday concludes the ‘Passion of Christ,’ a series of events and holidays that begins with Lent—a 40-day period of fasting, prayer and sacrifice—and ends with Holy Week, which includes Holy Thursday (the celebration of Jesus’ Last Supper with his 12 Apostles), Good Friday (on which Jesus’ death is observed), and Easter Sunday.
Although a holiday of high religious significance in the Christian faith, many traditions associated with Easter date back to pre-Christian, pagan times.
When Is Easter?
Easter 2018 occurs on Sunday, April 1. However, Easter falls on a different date each year. Easter Sunday and related celebrations, such as Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday, are considered “moveable feasts,” although, in western Christianity, which follows the Gregorian calendar, Easter always falls on a Sunday between March 22nd and April 25th.
Religious [Meaning] of Easter:
The resurrection of Jesus, as described in the New Testament of the Bible, is essentially the foundation upon which the Christian religions are built. Hence, Easter is a very significant date on the Christian calendar.
Passover and Easter:
Notably, Easter is also associated with the Jewish holiday of Passover, as well as the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, as described in the Old Testament.
Lent, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday:
In western Christianity, including Roman Catholicism and Protestant denominations, the period prior to Easter holds special significance. This period of fasting and penitence is called Lent. It begins on Ash Wednesday, and lasts for 40 days (not including Sundays). The Sunday immediately prior to Easter is called Palm Sunday, and it commemorates Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem, when followers laid palm leaves across the road to greet him.
Irrespective of denomination, there are many Easter-time traditions with roots that can be traced to non-Christian and even pagan or non-religious celebrations. Many non-Christians choose to observe these traditions while essentially ignoring the religious aspects of the celebration. Examples of non-religious Easter traditions include Easter eggs, and related games such as egg rolling and egg decorating. It’s believed that eggs represented fertility and birth in certain pagan traditions that pre-date Christianity.
In some households, a character known as the Easter Bunny delivers candy and chocolate eggs to children on Easter Sunday morning. These candies often arrive in an Easter basket.
The exact origins of the Easter Bunny tradition are unknown, although some historians believe it arrived in America with German immigrants in the 1700s.
From ESL Voices:
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
The K-W-L chart is used to activate students’ background knowledge of a topic in order to enhance their comprehension skills.
Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about the Easter holiday. Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- Easter is a holiday of high religious significance.
- Traditions associated with Easter date back to pre-Christian, pagan times.
- Eastern Orthodox Christianity adheres to the Julian calendar.
- Those who believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection are given “the gift” of eternal life.
- In western Christianity the period prior to Easter holds special significance.
- Holy Week ends on Easter.
- Irrespective of denomination, there are many Easter-time traditions.
- The exact origins of the Easter Bunny tradition are unknown.
- Several Protestant Christian denominations, have opted to formally abandon Easter traditions, deeming them too pagan.
- An Easter dinner of lamb also has historical roots, since a lamb was often used as a sacrificial animal in Jewish traditions.
Directions: Review the following statements from the reading. If a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they mark it F and provide the correct answer.
- Easter is a Jewish holiday.
- Easter is also associated with the Jewish holiday of Passover.
- The Last Supper was essentially a Passover feast.
- In western Christianity the period prior to Easter holds no special significance.
- The Sunday immediately prior to Easter is called Palm Sunday.
- Palm Sunday commemorates when palm trees were first grown.
- In Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Easter rituals start with the Great Lent.
- Examples of non-religious Easter traditions include Easter eggs, and related games such as egg rolling and egg decorating.
- Mostly adults participate in Easter egg hunts.
- The exact origins of the Easter Bunny tradition are known.
Grammar Focus: Prepositions
Directions: The following sentences are from the news article. For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.
Prepositions: in, for, of, with, by, on, at, to, as, into, across, around, over, through, from, during, up, off,
___ some denominations ___Protestant Christianity, Easter Sunday marks the beginning ___ Eastertide.
Despite its significance ___ a Christian holy day, many ___ the traditions and symbols that play a key role ___ Easter observances actually have roots ___ pagan celebrations.
He was sentenced ___ death ___Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect ___ the province of Judea ___ 26 ___ 36 A.D.
III. Post Reading Activities
Directions: Have students fill in the last column of the KWL chart if they used one in the pre-reading segment of this lesson.
Graphic Organizers: Finding the main idea
Directions: Have students use this graphic organizer from Enchanted Learning to assist them with discussing or writing about the main points from the article.
Discussion for Comprehension /Writing
Directions: Place students in groups and have them discuss the following statements. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.
Is the Easter holiday celebrated in your country?
Are there any special traditions in your family to celebrate Easter?
From reading the article, do you think Easter was celebrated more long ago? Explain why or why not.
Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading, two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.