Unlike Christmas and Halloween, the holiday of Easter is relatively unknown in Japan. So, what is it?
In Japanese, Easter (イースター) is called 深津祭. Many Christians believe that three days after Jesus (イエス) died, he was resurrected (生き返らせた)—He most probably did not, but Christians still like to believe it—and this is what is celebrated on Easter Day.
Easter Day this year (2019) falls on April 21st. Like the Chinese New Year (旧正月), the date of Easter changes from year to year, depending on the moon. Namely, Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox (3月21日以降の最初の満月に次ぐ日曜日; この前後1—3週間, 英米の学校では休みになる).
Many Americans go to Church on Easter Sunday, dressed in their best (often new) clothes. In many Christian churches, especially African American ones, women wear large, fancy hats. For children, Easter is a particularly fun day. In the morning, many children wake to find Easter baskets filled with small presents, chocolates in the shape of rabbits, and all sorts of candies. Children believe the Easter Bunny (子供たちに贈り物を持って来るといわれる、復活祭のウサギ) brings the chocolate, much like Santa Claus brings presents on Christmas. Later, children will take part in an Easter Egg Hunt. (国や地域によっては、復活祭の際に庭や室内のあちこちに隠して子供たちに探させるといった遊びもおこなわれる) When I was a child, the person who found the golden egg won a special prize.
As far as I was concerned, though, the best part about Easter was that it brought an end to the dreaded (嫌な) season of Lent (四旬節, 受難節—キリストの荒野の試練を記念して断食や贖罪（しよくざい）を行う; Ash WednesdayからEaster Eveまでの主日(日曜日)を除く40日間). In my family, there was NO TV during the Lenten season. No TV for 44 days! It was like being in Purgatory (煉獄又は浄罪界). We also couldn’t eat meat on certain days, such as Fridays.
Now that I have children of my own, I celebrate many of the holidays of my youth, including Easter. Luckily for them, they don’t have to endure Lent or Mass (ミサ). And, best of all, Easter came five weeks early this year due to scheduling issues.
One of my older sisters asked me if my sons had asked me what Easter was all about. I had to confess that they hadn’t and I didn’t really want to tell them. First of all, they are still too young to understand, and, secondly, I don’t believe it myself anymore.