The Easter story for kids: how to explain resurrection of Jesus to children - and when is Easter 2023?

This is how to explain the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus to children

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Every year, people look forward to celebrating Easter by enjoying eating chocolate eggs or doing seasonal activities with their loved ones.

For some, however, Easter is about much more than waiting for the Easter bunny to arrive - it’s an important date in the Christian calendar. The four-day Easter weekend tells the story of the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. So, what is the full Easter story, and how should you explain it to your children? Here’s what you need to know.

What happened on Good Friday?

The Easter story starts on the day we now know as Good Friday, and this was the day when Jesus, the Son of God, was crucified by roman cavalry under the orders of emperor Pontius Pilate. According to the Bible, he was flogged, ordered to carry the cross on which he would be crucified and then put to death. This was because Pontius Pilate did not like the message he was spreading about God and his ability to be a higher power.

It’s unclear why the day is referred to as Good Friday when such a brutal event occurred,  but some experts believe that the phrase was originally God’s Friday, while others say it is still a good day because it is a holy day.

On Good Friday, Christians attend service at church. It’s also a tradition to eat fish rather than meat on this day. According to Christians, Jesus sacrificed his flesh on Good Friday and so people do not eat meat on that day. Fish, however, is viewed as a different kind of flesh and so that’s why Christians choose to eat it instead. Good Friday is a UK bank holiday.

This is how to explain the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus to children.This is how to explain the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus to children.
This is how to explain the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus to children.

What happened on Easter Saturday?

Easter Saturday is also known in the Christian community as Holy Saturday. It commemorates the day that Jesus lay in the tomb after his death, according to the Bible. It is also known as Easter Eve, Easter Even, Black Saturday, or the Saturday before Easter. Many churches hold Easter vigils, and Christian’s use this as a day of reflection.

What happened on Easter Sunday?

Easter Sunday, which is the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead according to the Bible, is also known as Resurrection Sunday.

This day is considered the most significant in the Christian church’s calendar, as it is believed that on this day Jesus was resurrected.

This day therefore represents the belief that Jesus overcame death, and so there is life after death. It also symbolises that Jesus, as God, is a higher power. Christians mark this day by attending a church service.

What happened on Easter Monday?

The Bible does not detail any specific events taking place on Easter Monday, but it does begin Jesus’s 40 days on earth before he ascended to heaven. It is believed that Jesus remained on earth for 40 days after his resurrection, and during this time he appeared to believers, healed the sick and spread the word of God.

The acts he carried out during this period are thought to have helped establish the first church. After the 40 days ended, Christians believe that he ascended into heaven to be with God, the creator. Easter Monday is also a UK bank holiday.

How do I explain the Easter story to children?

The Easter story may not be appropriate to tell to young children, so here’s a simpler version that is suitable for youngsters. During his life, Jesus taught many people about God - who he claimed was his father and a higher power than any of mankind. He attracted many followers and people began to believe what he said.

Jesus existed in the time of the Roman Empire, and the leader at the time was Pontius Pilate. He did not agree with what Jesus was saying and ordered his followers to kill him, and so they did. Once he had died, he was buried by his friends in a tomb. Three days after his death, they found Jesus was no longer in the tomb. It appeared that he had been resurrected and returned to Earth for 40 days to further spread the word of God. After this, he rose up to heaven to be with God.

How is Easter celebrated?

In the UK, we have lots of traditions that we follow each year. Some of these customs may have their roots in religion.

For example, some believe that the Easter Bunny - who now famously brings chocolate eggs to children on Easter Sunday - comes from the ancient pagan festival of Eostre. People also like to cook, bake, make Easter baskets and do other crafts. Another tradition is egg decorating and rolling which reflects the stone in front of the tomb Jesus was resting in being rolled away when he was resurrected

When is Easter 2023?

This year, the Easter weekend begins on Good Friday, which is on 7 April. Easter Saturday is on 8 April, followed by Easter Sunday on 9 April. The Easter weekend finishes on Monday 10 April with Easter Monday.

Why does the date of Easter change each year?

Unlike April Fools’ Day, Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Year, the date of Easter is not set and changes every year.

It can take place any time between 22 March and 22 April.

The date of Easter Sunday is decided based on a complicated set of calculations regarding observations of the moon. The exact date on which Easter should be celebrated is something churches have debated for centuries, with various methods of calculation used by different sects.

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