The Easter Bunny and Jesus
You’ll be met by a wall of pastel-colored baskets, plastic eggs, jelly beans, and—perhaps most famous of all—chocolate bunnies if you go into practically any retail store shortly after Valentine’s Day. You’re well aware that Easter is approaching. Since the 1840s, the Christian festival of Easter, which commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, has achieved widespread secular recognition in the United States and other countries. Parades, parties, and elaborate egg hunts are all part of the festivities, and even the White House gets in on the fun with its own yearly egg search on the grounds.
As a result, for youngsters in the Western world—particularly in the United States—the Easter bunny has emerged as one of the most well-known emblems of this Christian festival.
The Easter Bunny has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus, and it’s a mystery why.
INFOGRAPHIC: From Mardi Gras To Easter
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The Significance of Easter
Easter is a Christian holiday or holy day that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead on the third day following his crucifixion on the third day after his death. The crucifixion and resurrection, when considered together, are the defining events of the Christian religion. It is not an exaggeration to suggest that Christianity would not exist if Jesus had not been raised from the dead, thus it is not surprising that Christ-followers began to commemorate the event as early as the first century.
- Some people wanted it to be associated with the Jewish Passover, which takes place on Nisan 14 of the Hebrew calendar.
- As a result, Western Christians made the decision to ensure that the festival fell on a Sunday each year.
- As a result, Easter can occur as early as March 22 or as late as April 25 in the Western Hemisphere.
- The day of Jesus’ crucifixion is celebrated as Good Friday.
- The season of Lent sets a forty-day time of preparation that includes prayer, fasting, and introspection leading up to the celebration of Easter.
- At the end of the day, everyone who belong to Jesus will be able to break free from the bonds of death and live again in glory.
The question then becomes, how did the Easter bunny come to be connected with it, since Easter is a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the grave and the significance of that event?
Hares and Rabbits and Bunnies! Oh My!
We need to go back to ancient Mesopotamia and Syria in order to understand how and why the rabbit came to be connected with the holiday of Christmas. Approximately three thousand years ago, the hare represented death and rebirth to the ancient people. Because they have many of the same traits as hares, the connections created with hares gradually moved to those made with rabbits. 4 The fact that rabbits were represented on gravestones in the Greco-Roman era may have been due to their relationship with death and rebirth.
- 5 As you can see, there has been a long-standing association between hares and rabbits and death and rebirth—or, in the Christian sense, resurrection—for many years.
- This notion has lasted, as seen by Hugh Hefner’s use of the term “bunnies” to refer to his playmates.
- “Breed like rabbits” is a term that we’ve all probably heard at some point in our lives.
- 6 A frolicking rabbit was a common motif in Renaissance art (a era that looked back to the classical world) and signified unrestrained sexual joy to those who saw it.
The Arrival of the Easter Bunny
The first direct association between Easter and rabbits was established in Europe somewhere between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Certain believe that the term “Easter” comes from the German fertility goddess Eostra, who was in some traditions linked with hares and rabbits. 8 However, more and more historians believe it may have sprung from a Norse term for “spring,” which isostern is the Germanized form of in English. It is quite likely that the goddess’s name was taken from the local term for spring as well, although it is hard to identify which came first, if either.
Jesus and the Easter Bunny
In the last two hundred years, the Christian holy-day has evolved into a secular folk celebration that is more popular. It wasn’t until the 1890s that the pagan and folk features of Easter as a spring holiday had become thoroughly entrenched and economically exploited in the United States of America. In spite of the fact that the number of people who observed Easter’s religious importance decreased in the latter part of the twentieth century, new clothing, parades, candy, and egg hunts have emerged as important cultural representations during this time.
Nowhere in the Bible or Christian tradition is there any evidence of a connection between the two.
It is possible to learn anything from the past via art, stories, and myths.
It is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is at the heart of Easter, that mirrors those longings and makes the bold assertion that death will be swallowed up in victory one day.
Discover the Good News (Gospel)
God promises that if you seek him with all your heart, you will eventually find him. Learn how to take the first step in seeking God and experiencing the good news of the gospel. “Those who seek me with diligence will eventually discover me.” -Proverbs 8:17 (NASB)
What Does the Easter Bunny Have To Do With Easter?
The Easter Bunny, a long-eared, cotton-tailed creature popularly known as the Easter Bunny, does not appear in the Bible. In addition, there is no verse about small children decorating eggs or seeking for baskets brimming with delectable Easter treats. Real rabbits, on the other hand, do not lay eggs. Why are these customs so deeply engrained in the celebration of Easter Sunday? And what, exactly, do they have to do with Jesus’ death and resurrection? To be really honest, nothing. Bunnies, eggs, Easter baskets, Easter presents, and fluffy, yellow chicks with gardening hats are all believed to have pagan origins.
- As explained by the University of Florida’s Center for Children’s Literature and Culture, the celebration’s roots can be traced back to pre-Christian Germany in the 13th century, during which time people worshipped a variety of deities.
- The goddess Eostra was revered as the goddess of spring and fertility in ancient Germany, and feasts were conducted in her honor on the Vernal Equinox to commemorate the arrival of spring.
- Spring also represented fresh life and rebirth, and eggs were traditionally used as a sign of fertility.
- The oldest known mention of the Easter Bunny dates back to the 1500s.
- According to the Center for Children’s Literature and Culture, these stories were brought to the United States in the 1700s by German immigrants who lived in Pennsylvania Dutch country.
- Nests were eventually transformed into decorative baskets, and brightly colored eggs were exchanged for candy, sweets, and other little presents.
A Basketful of Bunny Facts
We’ll be concentrating on smaller rabbits for the time being, although larger species can grow to be 20 inches long and weigh around 4 pounds. The world’s largest bunny didn’t hop and didn’t have any enemies. Rabbits do not consume meat, but they do consume a variety of different plant foods such as grasses, lettuce, leafy weeds, and other plants, among other things. Rabbits are often quick on their feet because they must be in order to survive. When fleeing from a predator, Eastern Cottontail Rabbits will travel in a zigzag pattern, reaching speeds of up to 18 miles per hour in the process.
The ears of a rabbit can grow to reach more than 4 inches in length.
Depending on the breed, rabbits can begin reproducing between the ages of 4 and 7 months, depending on their size.
After all, a rabbit has to do what a bunny has to do in order to survive.
They must be on the watch at all times since they are prey animals. It is for this reason that they have eyes that are well situated, allowing them to view almost 360 degrees around them, and they are good observers of dangers that come from above.
How Is the Easter Bunny Connected to Christianity? Meaning and Origin
In popular culture, the Easter Bunny is a well-known figure linked with the Easter holiday season. The rabbit has pre-Christian origins, and it has long been connected with fertility, new life, and the arrival of spring. But early Christians used the pagan symbolism of the rabbit into their Christian traditions in order to make the teachings of Jesus Christ more accessible to people who were not already believers in the religion. Here’s where you can get your FREE Easter Guide. You may have daily words of encouragement emailed to your inbox.
What Is the Easter Bunny’s History and Origin?
Easter Bunnies have been around since the 13th century in Germany, and their roots may be traced back to that time period. The Germanic people, often known as the Teutons, were devout followers of pagan gods and goddesses. Eostra (also known as Ostara or Ostre) was a goddess who lived in the ancient world. In ancient Greece, she was regarded as the goddess of fertility and the season of spring. The goddess’s name is derived from the term “Easter,” which has its origins in the English language.
How Did the Rabbit Symbol Become Connected to Easter?
In AD 595, Pope Gregory despatched a group of 40 Roman monks to England with the mission of converting the Anglo Saxons to Christianity. According to the Pope’s orders, the 40 missionaries persuaded the pagan Britons to combine their old festivals with Christian festivities in areas where both festival calendars coincided, so integrating both religions. During the celebration of Easter, it is clear that these two traditions have been brought together. The goddess Eostra was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons, much as their Germanic forebears, the Teutons, did, and feasts were conducted in her honor on the March Equinox.
It was as a result of this that the Roman monks were successful in convincing the Britons to embrace the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrectionat Easter, while at the same time retaining their worship of the goddess Eostra and reverence for her symbol, the rabbit.
The tale of the Easter Bunny was strengthened by the traditions of German immigrants who migrated in Pennsylvania Dutch County in the United States in the 1700s and established a stronghold there.
After a long period of time, the Easter Bunny and the hunt for his Easter eggs have evolved into iconic symbols of the Easter festival, particularly among youngsters.
What Are Other Pagan Traditions That Are Connected to Christian Holidays?
Certain aspects of our Christian celebrations are reminiscent of old pagan ceremonies. On the same day that we honor the birth of Jesus Christ as the One who led us out of the darkness of death and sin and into the light of Salvation, the ancient Romans celebrated theSaturnalia Festival, which was named after the planet Saturn, which took place on December 25th. It was planned that the festivities would include gift-giving, a public dinner, and other activities to honor the passing of the longest night of the year.
Despite the fact that it is commonly referred to as the celebration leading up to All Saints Day, its origins can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which was observed around the 9thcentury to commemorate the seasonal transition into the winter months and the death of vegetation as a result of crop harvesting and bitter frosts.
Throughout the Middle Ages, the holiday was celebrated with Jack-o-lanterns made of turnips and potatoes, which quickly became a popular addition to the celebrations. Later, pumpkins were introduced to replace these veggies.
What Does the Bible Say about Cultural and Religious Practices?
According to Colossians 2:8, Paul warns us not to be taken in by hollow and deceptive philosophy that is based on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” Having stated that, Paul’s objective was to communicate the truth of God’s Word with individuals who adhered to schools of intellectual or cultural thinking while showing compassion and support to those who did not.
When Paul addresses the Athenians at the Areopagus in Acts 17:16-33, it is clear that he is concerned that people be aware of the resurrection power of Jesus Christ and that all other cultural or philosophical practices be thrown out of the window.
However, Paul’s emphasis was on the fact that God is a living God, the creator of Heaven and Earth who resurrected the dead, whereas the Athenians were ignorant of the true nature of the idols and philosophical pursuits that they held in such high regard.
Should Christians Stay Away from Secular Easter Practices?
The eating of chocolate Easter Bunnies, painting eggs, and participating in Easter Egg hunts with your children are some of the most enjoyable aspects of the holiday; it is a fantastic chance to make lovely memories with your children. However, whether or not you participate in these secular customs is ultimately a matter of personal preference. What is most important is to remember what Easter is really all about: the resurrection of Jesus Christ, whose death on the cross secured our redemption and a position alongside our Father on His glorious throne for all eternity.
She lives in New York City.
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The Easter Bunny’s Origin and Connection to Christianity
Contrary to popular belief, the EasterBunny isn’t the only wacky ritual that takes place over the holiday season. Residents of Greece will toss pots out of their windows on the Saturday before Easter, while on Easter Monday, lads in Poland will attempt to make people wet by dumping buckets of water on them. While the Easter Bunny’s origins are unknown, it is probable that they may be traced back to the pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon era, when pagans would worship a deity that appeared in the appearance of a rabbit, known as Eostre.
- Rabbits were connected with rebirth and new life in numerous cultures, including Ancient Rome and even earlier civilizations.
- So, how did the Christian festival become entangled in all of this?
- As a result, when a party of monks traveled to England in the late fourth century with the goal of converting the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity, they incorporated parts of pagan festivals into their Christian calendar.
- In a similar vein to Halloween, the practice has grown into candy-themed celebrations geared toward youngsters.
- It is common to see eggs covering the bodies of fertility deities, such as the sculptures of Ishtar from Babylon, in many cultures.
It’s logical to assume that Christians would have associated this egg imagery with a sign of life and that they would have integrated eggs into a celebration commemorating everlasting life. Photograph courtesy of Getty Images/leekris
What Does a Rabbit Have To Do With Easter?
Have you ever pondered how a rabbit came to be associated with the holiday of Easter? If this is the case, you are not alone. So, how did the Easter Bunny come to be in charge of distributing brightly colored Easter eggs? Because, after all, rabbits are animals that do not reproduce and do not lay eggs. Isn’t it appropriate that the Easter emblem be an animal that really lays eggs, such as a lizard or a chicken? Since the pre-Christian era, rabbits have been connected with the arrival of spring and the onset of fecundity in Germany.
- That this is the case is not unexpected when you consider how prolific rabbits are breeders in general.
- It is considered that this ancient sign of spring and fertility most likely came into contact with Christian traditions during the 17th century German Reformation.
- So, what is the purpose of the Easter Bunny bringing eggs?
- So, despite the fact that rabbits do not lay eggs, the combination of these two symbols seemed nearly logical.
- During the 17th century in Germany, writings about the “Oschter Haws” (Easter Hare) were the first to mention the animal.
- Immigrants from Germany brought the Easter Bunny custom to the United States with them in the early nineteenth century.
- That’s all there is to it.
- As these ancient symbols grew increasingly connected with the Christian celebration of Easter, the two traditions eventually combined to become what some people now call the Easter holiday.
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Easter Symbols and Traditions
While certain Easter customs and symbols have been around for hundreds of years, others have been around for hundreds of years. While Easter is celebrated by Christians as the commemoration of Christ’s resurrection, many of the rituals associated with the holiday are not recorded in the Bible. It is believed that German immigrants carried their legends of an egg-laying hare with them to America, and it was they who introduced the Easter rabbit, which is the most well-known secular emblem of the Christian festival.
Traditional practices such as the consuming of Easter sweets have been modernized to make this early springtime festival even more enjoyable.
There is no reference of an egg-delivering critter with long ears and a short tail in the Bible, yet the Easter rabbit has become a well-known emblem of Christianity’s most significant festival regardless of whether or not it is mentioned in the Bible. Although the actual origins of this mythological creature are unknown, rabbits, who are known to be prolific breeders, have long been revered as a symbol of fertility and fresh birth. German immigrants who migrated in Pennsylvania in the 1700s and brought their custom of an egg-laying hare known as “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws” with them to America, according to some reports, were the first to bring the Easter rabbit to America.
Eventually, the custom spread throughout the United States, and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets took the place of nests in many locations.
READ MORE: The Origins of the Holiday of Easter
Despite the fact that Easter is a religious celebration, several of its practices, such as the giving of Easter eggs, are likely derived from pagan traditions. The egg, a long-standing emblem of fresh life, has long been connected with springtime rituals, particularly in pagan cultures. Easter eggs are thought to signify Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection from a Christian perspective, according to tradition. Egg decorating for Easter is a ritual that, according to some historians, dates back to at least the thirteenth century.
Easter egg hunts and egg rolling are two prominent egg-related customs that take place throughout the holiday season.
The first official White House egg roll took place in 1878, during the administration of President Rutherford B.
Despite the fact that the ritual has no religious significance, some individuals have interpreted egg rolling as a representation of the stone obstructing Jesus’ tomb being rolled away, so resulting in his resurrection.
MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: The Easter Egg Roll at the White House Has a Brief History
Easter is the second most popular confectionery festival in the United States, after Halloween. Chocolate eggs, which have been there since the early nineteenth century in Europe, are one of the most popular sweet foods linked with this holiday. Eggs have long been connected with Easter as a sign of fresh life and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and with good reason. Although the jelly bean’s origins are said to stretch all the way back to a Biblical-era confection known as a Turkish Delight, another egg-shaped delicacy, the chocolate egg, became linked with Easter in the 1930s.
This figure comes from the National Confectioners Association (NCA).
Just Born, a candy maker headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (established by Russian immigrant Sam Born in 1923) began selling Peeps in the 1950s.
Later on, various forms and tastes were added to the mix, such as the chocolate mousse bunnies.
The Easter Parade custom in New York City dates back to the mid-1800s, when members of the upper crust of society would attend Easter services at several Fifth Avenue churches and then promenade outside afterward, displaying their new spring dresses and hats, according to the New York Times. Ordinary people began to gather along Fifth Avenue to take in the sights and sounds of the event. By the mid-20th century, the practice had reached its zenith, and in 1948, the blockbuster film “Easter Parade,” starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland and featuring the music of Irving Berlin, celebrated the occasion with a release.
Bonnets and hats, which are sometimes ornately designed, are frequently worn by participants.
Today, parades are held in a variety of locations around the United States.
Lamb and Other Traditional Easter Foods
Traditionally, lamb is served at Easter dinner. Christians refer to Jesus as the “Lamb of God,” however the tradition of eating lamb during Easter dates back to ancient Passover rites. The inhabitants of Egypt were subjected to a series of horrible plagues, including the death of all firstborn sons, according to the tale of Exodus. Members of the Jewish faith painted the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a slaughtered lamb in order for God to “pass over” their dwellings.
Lamb was eaten during Easter by Jews who converted to Christianity, who carried on the practice of eating lamb. Lamb would have been one of the first fresh meals available after a long winter with no cattle to kill, according to historical records.
The purity of Christ is represented by white Easter Lilies, which are typical decorations in churches and homes around the time of the Easter celebration. Their transformation from dormant bulbs in the ground to blooming flowers represents the rebirth and hope that comes with Christ’s resurrection. Lilies are native to Japan and were introduced to England in 1777, but it was not until after World War I that they made their way to the United States. As a result, they have come to be known as the unofficial flower of Easter celebrations throughout the United States.
Eggs, bunnies and Jesus Christ: the history and origins of Easter
What if I told you that Easter was originally a festival of Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of sex and fertility who was also associated with war and religiously sanctioned prostitutes? Wrong. Bunnies and eggs, on the other hand, have absolutely nothing to do with this most sacred event, which commemorates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the grave. They do, in fact, exist. Easter, like its joyous and frightening siblings, Christmas and Halloween, has developed through ages, incorporating both Christian and non-Christian aspects into its celebration.
Put the bunnies, eggs, and all other trinkets in one basket and see if we can find an explanation for everything else.
Where does the word ‘Easter’ come from?
The phrase appears to be derived from the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, Eostre, who was honored as she managed to flee Winter’s icy grasp throughout the winter season. However, Eostre was not the ancient deity who, according to popular belief, changed a bird into an egg-laying hare companion, i.e. the predecessor to the Easter rabbit, as is popularly believed. According to Bede’s writings, the English people named the fourth month of the year Eosturmonath or Eostre-Month (which coincided with the spring equinox) after the goddess, and feasts were held in her honor.
Printed reproduction of a manuscript depicting people drinking in April in celebration of the ancient goddess Eostre.
(Image courtesy of The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images.) ) The Northumbrian monk definitely had an impact, since the name has remained – at least in the English-speaking world – as a result of his efforts.
Passover was observed on the 14th day of Nisan, the seventh Hebrew month, on the first full moon after the vernal (spring) equinox, which was the first full moon after the vernal (spring) equinox.
Consider the following discussion of the history of Christianity by historian and novelist Tom Holland: He believes that it has had a transforming and permanent influence on the western mindset:
How does Easter relate to Jesus? When was the Last Supper?
In the days leading up to Jesus’ Crucifixion, he shared his final meal with his disciples, during which the bread and goblet of wine were dispersed as elements of his own body on the day now known as Maundy Thursday, which gets its name from the Latin ‘commandment’ that Jesus gave to his disciples during the meal. The New Testament gospels make it clear that Jesus hosted the Last Supper; that he was crucified at Golgotha (Calvary) in Jerusalem (on Good Friday, from the Old English ‘guode’ meaning ‘holy’), and that he was resurrected three days later from the tomb in which he had been interred (on Easter Sunday), all during the preparations for the Jewish holiday of Passover (on Easter Sunday).
As a result, Christ was referred to as the New Pascha (Latin for ‘Passover,’) and the celebration of his resurrection was designated as the first Christian feast.
Commissioned for the high altar of the cathedral of San Esteban de Valencia, ‘La Sagrada Cena’ (The Last Supper) was painted in 1562 (about 1934).
Featured image courtesy of The Print Collector/Getty Images
When is Easter celebrated?
Easter is celebrated on the Sunday following the first ecclesiastical full moon (which is more or less in sync with the astronomical Moon) following the vernal (spring) equinox (which occurs on or around March 21) in the northern hemisphere, when the sun is exactly above the equator and day and night are nearly equal in length. In the southern hemisphere, Easter is celebrated on the Sunday following the first ecclesiastical full moon ( What happened to Jesus’ corpse after he was crucified in the first century AD is still a mystery.
Who decided that Easter would be celebrated on this day?
Due to the fact that Jesus was executed during the Passover celebration and risen shortly afterward, it was only natural to remember these events at the same time. But when precisely is this going to happen? Passover was observed according to the Jewish lunar calendar, which did not correspond to the Christian Julian solar calendar, resulting in misunderstanding among the Jewish community and Christians. Eventually, in 325 CE, Emperor Constantine, who was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, decided to take control of the situation.
Moreover, because of the increasing lengthening and illumination of the days after the winter solstice, this offered excellent symbolism for Christ’s rebirth as “the light of the world,” as revealed in John’s Gospel.
Constantine was the first Roman emperor to accept Christianity as his religion. (Image courtesy of VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images. ) )
As a result, Constantine decreed that Easter would be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon following the spring equinox, which coincided with another historically significant point in the solar year. Do you believe that the concerns concerning the computation of the Easter date have been resolved as a result of the Nicaea decree? No – the misunderstanding continued to rage on. Nicaea simply verified the date, not the method of computation, and she did not elaborate. So, which Sunday should they choose to commemorate?
This resulted in disagreements between the two groups.
The Synod of Whitby, as it came to be called, sided with Rome’s estimations regarding the date of Easter.
Listen to archaeologist David Petts and Lisa Wilkins of DigVentures discuss an astounding Viking-era find found on the monastic site of Lindisfarne in Northumbria, which they describe as follows:
Why do we go to church at Easter? When did Easter church services first begin?
Every year in the northern hemisphere, the end of winter’s darkness was greeted with anticipation as the arrival of spring’s light ushered in a new season. By the Middle Ages, it was only natural to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus at this time of year, with religious rituals aligned with the seasonal changes in the calendar. When it came to visiting church, the medieval inhabitants would devote an enormous amount of their time to it during the three days of Sacred Week leading up to Easter Sunday – known as the Triduum – and throughout the rest of this most holy season in the Christian calendar.
As a solemn event, Tenebrae services were centered on the progressive burning of lights put onto a candleholder known as a hearse, which served as a memorial and protracted reflection on Christ’s suffering.
Easter Sunday services began at the crack of dawn, with the crowd congregating outside the church for songs before entering for a joyful celebration of the resurrection. People filed out of the church, filled with gratitude and forgiveness, to begin the celebration feast.
What do Easter eggs represent?
One of the key motifs linked with this season of regeneration was the egg from which life comes out. This was no Christian creation — the emblem had been employed by Anglo-Saxon pagans to commemorate spring, and maybe far earlier. It is impossible to pinpoint the precise point at when the association between Easter and the empty shell as a metaphor for Christ’s tomb arose, however such connections were common in medieval England. Rogier van der Weyden (c1399–1464) painted the Entombment of Christ.
In the medieval period, any eggs hatched during Lent were boiled for preservation so that when Easter Sunday rolled around, eggs were back on the menu.
- Recipes from the past: how to create the traditional Russian Easter sweet bread Kulich
And many of these eggs were vividly decorated, a process that dates back thousands of years. In early Christianity and later in the Orthodox Church, the color red was used to represent the blood of Christ; in Germanic countries, the color green was used to represent the blood of Christ and they were hung from trees on Maundy or ‘Green’ Thursday. While in England, they were frequently cooked with onions to give them a golden patina, King Edward I acquired a massive 450 eggs to be painted with colors or gold leaf and distributed throughout his family at Easter 1290.
On Easter morning, some believe that Martin Luther, a 16th-century German Protestant reformer, organized egg hunts for his congregation, largely to impart the lesson of Christ’s resurrection, in mimicry of the disciples’ discovery of the resurrected Christ in the tomb on Easter morning.
Because of their extraordinary fertility abilities, hares were particularly connected with springtime ceremonies and even the Virgin Mary in ancient times.
- An introduction to sexuality in the (Vatican) City
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Where did the Easter bunny originate? And when did we start eating chocolate Easter eggs?
As previously stated, hares came to be connected with Easter as a result of their fertility-inducing abilities. However, the notion of the ‘Easter Bunny’ as a whole is a very new invention. It is likely that the large, brightly colored rabbit we know and love today came about as a result of American influence, but in the 17th century, Heidelberg-based physicians Georg Franck von Franckenau and Johannes Richier wrote about hares hiding baskets of brightly painted eggs for children to find in their bookDe ovis paschalibus (‘About Easter eggs’).
This custom was carried on when German settlers arrived in America and carried on the tradition, therefore spreading it throughout the country.
In this vintage Easter greetings card from the early twentieth century, three bunnies are shown lounging around a basket full of brightly colored eggs.
Because of increased disposable cash, historical customs and religious festivities have found their way into the modern idea of “family time.” As a result, when Queen Victoria was spotted doing Easter egg hunts for her children throughout her various palaces, the rest of the public decided to join in.
Emma J. Wells is an ecclesiastical and architectural historian at the University of York who specializes in medieval architecture.
What Do the Easter Bunny and Easter Eggs Have To Do With Jesus?
Every holiday has a symbol associated with it. The pumpkin is the symbol of Halloween. The turkey is the centerpiece of Thanksgiving. Santa Claus is a Christmas tradition that has been passed down for generations. Valentine’s Day is all about the love. Then there’s the holiday of Easter. Easter is a time when people all around Western culture (particularly in America) adorn their houses with Easter bunnies and eggs to honor Jesus’ resurrection. While the pumpkin, turkey, Old St. Nick, and the heart all make sense, the Easter Bunny, on the other hand, is a complete and utter contradiction.
On Easter morning, according to legend, the Easter Bunny delivers baskets full of gifts to youngsters who have been nice.
But why is this so?
What does a rabbit and eggs have to do with Jesus, you might wonder.
The Significance of Easter
To comprehend the significance of the Easter Bunny, it is necessary to first comprehend the significance of the Easter celebration in its whole. Observed on the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion, Easter is a Christian celebration that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, taken together, serve as the foundation of the Christian religion and all of its traditions. It is safe to argue that Christianity would not exist if Christ had not had a new birth.
Hares, Rabbits and Bunnies
Historically, inhabitants in ancient Syria and Mesopotamia had the belief that the hare represented the death and rebirth of their people. Because of the resemblances between hares and rabbits, the symbolism of the smaller animal has taken on more significance. The meaning, on the other hand, stayed the same. Rabbits are frequently depicted on gravestones in the Greco-Roman era, which is most likely owing to the animal’s association with death and rebirth. Apart from being symbols of death and rebirth, hares and rabbits were also thought to represent sexual desire and passion.
Because of these connotations, hares have been designated as the official emblems of spring in the Northern hemisphere, which represents rebirth, regeneration, and fertility.
The Introduction of the Easter Bunny
It wasn’t until the 16th or 17th centuries that a formal relationship was established between Easter and the hare/rabbit symbol. Some believe the relationship stems from the German fertility goddess Eostra, who is also associated with hares in various countries of the world. Modern academics, on the other hand, believe that the word Easter derives from the Norse termostern, which literally translates as “spring.” Because the data reveals that Eostra’s name is derived from a local phrase, current researchers have a strong advantage over traditional scholars.
The modern decorations on display are representative of contemporary society’s perception and interpretation of the occasion.
Easter has become immensely commercialized, as has been the case with other Christian festivals. Despite the fact that people all across America and the Western world continue to celebrate with the symbols that were created in the 16th and 17th centuries, the number of people who recognize the religious importance of the festival has been steadily declining. A significant portion of the uncertainty around the Easter Bunny’s meaning may be attributable to this. Having said that, at the end of the day, the rabbit has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus and his resurrection, at least not directly.
The underlying pagan connotations between the rabbit and the hare and life, death, fertility, desire, and rebirth, on the other hand, are still quite strong in modern times.
Why do we have Easter eggs and the Easter bunny? – CBBC Newsround
- Many Christians spend their Sundays in church in reflection, prayer, and celebration of Jesus Christ’s life, and they may also come together with friends and family for a special meal to commemorate the occasion.
- However, thanks to technological advances, some sermons will be streamed and many people will still gather together, although via video calls rather than in person!
- But where did these modern practices emerge from in the first place?
- Although many of us indulge in chocolate eggs during the Easter season, eating eggs was once prohibited by church authorities during the week leading up to the holiday (known as Holy Week).
- The practice was borrowed by the Victorians, who used satin-covered cardboard eggs loaded with Easter presents to celebrate the holiday.
- What is the purpose of the chocolate Easter eggs?
- As chocolate-making processes progressed, hollow eggs such as the ones we know and love today became possible.
- So, where does it leave the Easter Bunny?
- Because rabbits often give birth to a large litter of kids (known as kittens), they have come to represent the beginning of a new existence.
As a result, some youngsters may enjoy participating in Easter egg hunts as part of the event. However, it is not responsible for all of the job! Easter eggs are brought by a cuckoo in Switzerland, and Easter eggs are delivered by a fox in areas of Germany.
Is Easter about Jesus or bunnies? Both, actually.
If you go past a store’s Easter display, you’re almost certain to see bunnies, eggs, and sweets in abundance. What you won’t find, though, is much evidence of the Easter tale itself, as related in the Bible’s four Gospels: that Jesus was caught, beaten, and nailed to a crucifixion, where he died. His death and subsequent resurrection, according to Christian belief, signifies God’s fulfillment of his promise to repair a world that had been torn asunder. Easter is undoubtedly the most important day of the Christian calendar year because, as the apostle Paul points out, the entire Christian religion would be “in vain” if Jesus’ death and resurrection were not to take place.
The origins of the Easter Bunny
In case you were wondering, the Easter Bunny does not make an appearance in the Gospels. It was the 16th-century German legend of Oschter Haws that provided the earliest historical allusions to an Easter Bunny that we know today. An enigmatic creature known as Oschter Haws, or the Easter Hare, visited youngsters while they slept, rewarding them for their excellent behavior, according to mythology (similar to Santa). The hares would then lay colored eggs in the nests that the youngsters had constructed for them.
The tradition of the Easter Hare continued to spread throughout the United States, especially with the publication of works such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit(1902) and The Easter Bunny That Overslept(1957).
But how did the Germans come up with the concept of associating a hare with Easter?
Because of their high breeding rate, some people believe that hares were formerly connected with the birth of new life in antiquity.
The origins of the Easter egg
The history presented here is primarily conjectural. Some believe that early Christians started to link an egg with the Easter tale because, much as a hard shell held fresh life, the tomb of Jesus housed his resurrected body, according to this view. According to another account, an egg dealer called Simon of Cyrene was compelled to set down his egg basket in order to assist Jesus in carrying his cross to the place where he would be crucified, according to the New Testament. When Simon returned to his basket, he saw that his eggs had been mysteriously embellished with beautiful designs.
- Assuming that chickens did not refrain from laying eggs throughout Lent, there may have been an excess of eggs available for sale or distribution by the time Easter rolled around.
- Thought to have started in early Christian communities in Mesopotamia, the Easter ritual of egg dying is believed to have originated with the color red being used to represent the blood of Jesus.
- In 1885, Tsar Alexander III commissioned a Russian jeweler named Peter Faberge to create a gold-encrusted egg as a gift for his wife on the occasion of the Easter celebration.
- (Some of the eggs were lost or destroyed during the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, which occurred in Russia.) In addition, Christians may have adopted the hard-boiled egg sign from Passover, as the hard-boiled egg is one of the seven emblems that are shown on the Seder plate.
- It is recorded in the Gospels that Jesus and his followers ate a Passover dinner together soon before his crucifixion.
As soon as the disciples began declaring Jesus’ resurrection, they continued to observe the Jewish holiday of Passover in the manner in which Jesus had directed them, in order to commemorate his death and, more significantly, what his death and resurrection signified for the whole world.
And now Americans spend $2.2 billion on Easter candy
According to the National Confectioners Association, the first edible Easter eggs were created in Europe around the nineteenth century. In Germany, sugar and pastries were transformed into sweets that were hidden within the costumes and bonnets that children had put out the night before. Baskets were developed from bonnets, which were ancestors to them. Easter candy remained popular throughout the nineteenth century, but it wasn’t until the twentieth century that technological advancements in candy manufacture enabled it to become the Easter staple that it is today.
According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend over $16 billion on Easter this year, with $2.2 billion going into sweets and more than $1 billion going toward flowers.
What does all of this have to do with the Easter story?
On the surface, there isn’t much to say. As a matter of fact, some Christians are wary of the modern trappings of the celebration, and this is one of the reasons for this. Several years ago, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, told Christianity Today: “Everything about Easter, including the Easter bunny, is as superfluous as Santa Claus is to the holiday’s main purpose. I’m not sure whether even some Christian churches are establishing the connection between Christ’s death and resurrection and the victory over sin — the central teaching of Christianity — but it’s something to think about.” Mohler’s worry, on the other hand, may be unwarranted.
It has been demonstrated through the history of Easter celebrations that, while the tales of Christianity are eternal, they have an elasticity that allows them to be adapted to the numerous cultures with which they come into touch.