15 historical photos show Easter celebrations around the world

  • Two girls doing their easter-shopping in London, April 8, 1936.
  • Three little girls carry symbolic crosses through the streets of Barile, southern Italy, during a passion play on Good Friday, April 2, 1959.
  • 
The various brotherhoods of the town parade through the streets in their medieval costumes during the Easter procession in Ferrol, Galicia, Spain. Here members carry the huge and heavy silver palanquin bearing the statue of Jesus and four ornate silver candelabra.
  • Orphans from Castlebar Nursery School in Sydenham who have been moved to Mersham-le-Hatch near Ashford in Kent, United Kingdom, celebrate Easter whilst awaiting adoption on March 23, 1940.
  • A little girl holds an Easter bunny on a leash, during a hunt for the easter eggs scattered in the grass, circa 1955.
  • Bunny-eared Rockettes relax during a rehearsal of the current Easter show at New York’s Radio City Music Hall on April 5, 1966
  • Women dressed in costume during the 135th annual White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington, D.C., April 1, 2013.
  • A little boy finds it hard to contain his excitement for a giant Easter egg display in a sweet shop on London’s Regent Street on March 22, 1952.
  • Chocolate Easter eggs are given their finishing touches in a confectionery factory in 1923.
  • Young boys watch the Easter procession in Andalouise, Spain.
  • Easter Sunday worships leave St. Patrick’€™s Cathedral after mass to join the throngs already parading on New York City’€™s Fifth Avenue in the traditional Easter Parade, April 18, 1965. 
  • Children participate in White House Easter egg roll in 1953. According to the White House Historical Association, the Easter Egg Roll is one of the oldest annual events in White House history with it dating back to President Rutherford B. Hayes and his wife, Lucy in 1878.
  • Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children’s Aid and Adoption Society enjoying hot cross buns as an Easter treat on March 26, 1937 in the United Kingdom.
  • A volunteer paints Easter eggs in the Bachkovo monastery, some 150 km, or around 93 miles, south of Sofia, Bulgaria, on April 17, 2014.
  • An Easter chick in pictured shop window in April 1990 in Pietrowice, Poland.

of

Updated

Giant rabbits sneakily hiding eggs for giddy little children to find. Catholic patrons in pointy white hoods. Church ladies in big fancy hats and churched and unchurched Christians alike breaking out their Sunday Best.

The Easter holiday, also known as Resurrection Sunday, is a Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his death by crucifixion at the hands of the Romans.

For many of the Christian faith, Easter is even more central to their belief than Christmas. While the winter holiday celebrates Christ’s birth, Easter hinges on the notion that Jesus died for humanity’s sins and rose from the dead.

Easter is celebrated across the Christian world in various ways. In the Western world, many celebrate the holiday by dying eggs and holding Easter Egg hunts – a tradition that seems to have come from European immigrants to America, who would dye the eggs red to symbolize the blood of Jesus and give them to good children. There are early morning church services and various displays of pomp, passion and praise to illuminate the final act of The Passion of the Christ, illustrating Jesus’s persecution, execution and resurrection.

Chocolate has become central to the American celebration, with milk chocolate cast in the shape of eggs or bunny rabbits. Older traditions included treats like “hot cross buns.” Some observe the holiday by symbolically carrying ornate crosses, while others don medieval costumes including pointed, hooded masks.

As is often the case in America, the holiday has taken on as much of a capitalist bent as a religious one. For weeks leading up to the holiday, television commercials advertise for Cadbury Crème Eggs and other Easter treats. Chain stores take on a decidedly pastel hue as candy bunnies and chocolate eggs burst from the aisles. Even New York City’s Radio Music Hall has gotten in on the action, with their famous Rockettes having donned fuzzy bunny ears over the years.

The celebration of the Easter Holiday and its many indulgences is also recognized annually by the President of the United States with a traditional “Easter Egg Roll” at the White House.

On Monday, President Obama and the First Family will host the 137th White House Easter Egg Roll, in which children and their families will play games including rolling hard-boiled eggs. The lucky participants will receive a decorative souvenir egg.

The White House Easter Egg Roll is one of the oldest annual events on the American political calendar in Washington, D.C., with the first Egg Roll hosted by President Rutherford B. Hayes and his wife, Lucy, in 1878.

For more feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography

Speak Out