On Sunday, millions of people around the world will observe Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe was the Son of God.

Christmas is the biggest holiday in the Christian calendar, with its lavish observance of Christ’s birth. But Easter has a profound significance of its own: The triumph of life over death, of light over darkness.

The name “Easter” came from the pagan celebration “Eastre,” which early Christian missionaries incorporated into their religion as increasing numbers of pagans converted.

Interestingly enough, the Easter Bunny, which most of us think of as a secular symbol, actually originated with the pagan festival also. The goddess Eastre was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthly symbol, the rabbit. German settlers brought the tradition of the Easter Rabbit to America.

The Easter Egg also predates the Christian holiday. In pagan days, by custom people exchanged eggs in the springtime. The egg was a symbol of rebirth in most cultures, often wrapped in gold leaf if given by the wealthy, or colored brightly by peasants who boiled them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers.

Thus we see that the modern celebration of Easter has ancient roots, and that the aspects of it which some of us may have thought were strictly commercial, pre-date the actual celebration of Christ’s Resurrection.

But this does not detract from the basic reason for Easter. Christians believe that it proved, for anyone who still doubted, that Jesus Christ truly was the Son of God, because on the third day He rose from the dead.

May we all have a happy Easter.