Astronaut Celebrates Easter in Space (Easter Eggs, Included)

Children around the world aren't the only ones having an Easter egg hunt today. Astronauts in space will get Easter treats, too.

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who commands the International Space Station, made sure that the Easter Bunny would make a special trip to the orbital lab today (March 31) just in time for an Easter celebration in space.

"Good Morning, Earth! A fine Easter Sunday morning to you from the crew of the International Space Station," Hadfield wrote in a post on Twitter, where he is chronicling his mission under the name @Cmdr_Hadfield.

Hadfield snapped a sunrise photo of Earth on Easter showing the sun glinting off the Great Lakes in North America this morning to mark the occasion. Then he revealed his Easter secret.

"Don't tell my crew, but I brought them Easter Eggs :)," Hadfield wrote as he posted a photo of his space Easter treats. [Astronaut Chris Hadfield's Amazing Space Photos]

In the photo, six large plastic Easter eggs — each a different color —float inside a plastic bag while Hadfield presses a finger to his lips in a "Shh" gesture.

Easter Sunday is a day off for the space station crew because it falls on a weekend. Hadfield is Canada's first commander of the station and took charge of the orbiting laboratory earlier in March.

Hadfield's Expedition 35 crew includes himself, two Americans and three Russians. Three crewmembers, American astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin, just arrived at the station on Thursday (March 28).

Astronauts in space have a long tradition of spending holidays in space dating back decades to the early days of human spaceflight, when NASA astronauts celebrated Christmas orbiting the moon during the 1968 Apollo 8 mission.

Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year's Day and other traditional holidays from Russia and other space station partner countries have been celebrated in space since the first crew took up residence in the orbiting laboratory in 2000. The space station has been manned by rotating crews ever since.

Hadfield has shown a dedication to marking holidays off the planet. In March, he donned a green shirt and bowtie for St. Patrick's Day, and in February he wore a heart headband for Valentine's Day and a funny hat and necklace for Mardi Gras.

Hadfield and two Expedition 35 crewmates — NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko — are due to return to Earth in May. They have been living on the space station in since mid-December.

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalikand Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebookand Google+. Original article on SPACE.com.

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