The name is believed to have derived from the a Pagan festival paying respect to 'Eastre' (See Mystical WWW Eggs) the Pagan goddess of Spring and fertility. The celebrations focused around the vernal equinox in honour of the goddess. It is based on the cycle of life (rebirth/regeneration) which begins in the Spring after the long Winter. This festival was a time of great celebration. It is then believed this festival was replaced by the Christian Festival which acknowledged Christ's Crucifixion which preceded the Resurrection and so enforced the idea of rebirth/regeneration.
The Christian Church does not have sole ownership on the Easter celebration. It is believed many of the Christian festivals merely replaced Pagan festivals. In the Christian belief the Easter period is when Christ was crucified on the cross, later placed in a tomb but then rose from the dead and so fulfilled the prophecies of the Resurrection and life eternal. The crucifixion is believed to symbolise Christ's personal sacrifice for man's salvation and redemption. The religion of Christianity brings people together to celebrate Easter, celebrating the Resurrection and so reaffirming the belief in life everlasting and the Holy Trinity.
It is believed by some that the Christian church established the symbolic story of Resurrection by means of substituting the story of Christ and the Resurrection following the story of Adonia originating from the Middle East, Judaea, Syria, Egypt, Persia, Cyprus, Rome and Greece. Adonia was also believed to have died and risen again (Ezekiel, viii, 14 referred to as Tammuz). The mourning women were said to be desolate with grief and then rejoiced at this resurrection. A festival to commemorate Adonia is still celebrated for eight days, in these countries and in Alexandria and Assyria called the 'Festival of Adonis'. The Adonis River is a stream near Byblos and is said to have run red, most likely with the soil brought down from the Lebanon.
An ancient belief follows that Christ suffered on the cross on the 25th March and so some Christians remember the crucifixion on this day, irrespective of the state of the lunar cycle at this time, although in the UK today Easter celebrations vary slightly to the nearest Sunday of that date.