The Easter season is of utmost importance to the Christian faith, but many don’t understand how the Easter Bunny, colored eggs, and Easter egg hunts became a popular part of the holiday.
Easter to Christians
The Easter season to Christians is the celebration of the death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven by Jesus Christ, God’s only son, to atone for the sins of the world. John 3:16 explains “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son and whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” This is one of the most widely quoted Bible verses in history.
The Easter Egg
Early Christians started using eggs as a symbol of the tomb that Jesus was placed in after his death before his resurrection. Just like the chicken egg, this “tomb” actually contains life. The eggs were usually dyed red to represent the blood of Christ through which sins were forgiven. Although early Christians did this practice, the practice wasn’t officially recognized as a symbol of the resurrection until the early 1600’s. Eggs were plentiful around Easter time, because originally Catholics gave up meat, eggs, and dairy for Lent. This left plenty of eggs to be decorated. In Russia, decorating of the eggs was taken to all new levels over the years culminating with Peter Carl Faberge eggs from 1885 to 1917. The Faberge egg looked like an egg but was decorated with precious metals and gemstones.
The Easter Bunny
The origin of the Easter Bunny reaches all the way back to the early pagans. During springtime, the pagans, especially the German pagans, celebrated the start of spring by honoring the goddess Ostara. Ostara was associated with fertility and was said to have a hare as a constant companion, another symbol of fertility. The German Lutherans in an effort to convert the pagans to Christianity introduced the Easter Hare. The Easter Hare was charged with the duty of giving good boys and girls, eggs, candy, and in rare cases toys. Even now, German churches will bring a live hare into the service during the Easter season. The Easter Bunny was brought to the United States during the 1700s by German immigrants that settled across Pennsylvania and much of the Midwest. In the United States, many kids learned the name of an Easter Bunny named Peter Cottontail, as he was hopping down the bunny trail.