During Easter, most greetings I received had either the Easter bunny or the Easter eggs.
Where did the Easter Bunny and Easter Egg come from? There is no Biblical reference to either. When Christ rose from the dead, there were no bunnies around.
Easter bunny has become a prominent symbol of Christianity’s most important holiday, though the Bible makes no mention of a bunny who delivers decorated eggs to well-behaved children on Easter Sunday.
The origins of this mythical mammal are unclear, but rabbits, known to breed prolifically, are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. Easter occurs in the Northern Hemisphere in spring and that is when the hibernating rabbits come out.
It is believed that the Easter bunny first arrived in North America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called Osterhase. Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. The custom spread across North America and chocolates, candies and gifts in decorated baskets replaced the nests.
The Easter Eggs are a pagan tradition from their spring festivities where the egg denoted new life. From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection – a new life for humanity.
The ancient Egyptians decorated ostrich eggs in gold and silver as a way of honouring their loved ones, who were buried with these intricate gifts. Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates to at least the 13th century, when eggs were a forbidden food during Lent. So people painted and decorated them to mark the end of the Lent and ate them on Easter as a celebration.
Eggs were very prized at Easter because hens never laid many eggs during winter due to the cold and the lack of sunlight. Hens begin to lay eggs again when the sun came out in spring, meaning eggs became associated with spring and, in turn, Easter.
Easter eggs made of chocolate started in 1725, in the Court of King Louis XIV in Versailles. The widow Giambone poured molten chocolate into empty chicken eggshells, and the first chocolate Easter egg was born.
Easter egg hunts and egg rolling are two popular egg-related traditions. In the White House Easter Egg Roll, a race in which children push decorated, hard-boiled eggs across the White House lawn, is an annual event held the Monday after Easter. The first official White House egg roll occurred in 1878, when Rutherford B. Hayes was the President. The event has no religious significance, although some people have considered egg rolling symbolic of the stone blocking Jesus’ tomb being rolled away, leading to his resurrection.
Eggs are an ancient symbol of new life and they have also been associated with fertility and death.