When preparing for the Easter celebration, do you know what some Easter traditions symbolize? It’s more than just fluffy bunnies and brightly colored eggs.
Every year around this time you can walk into any store and see aisles of pastel colored decorations and big fluffy bunnies. Yes, it is time to start decorating for easter and planning the upcoming easter events; coloring easter eggs and waiting for the easter bunny to sneak in and hide them while leaving lots of yummy candy. Some see Easter as being a religious holiday, but where did the easter bunny come from? A big giant bunny bearing colorful eggs?
The Easter bunny stems from an anglo-saxon goddess named Eastre, or Oestre. Pagan belief was that she was the goddess of fertility who brought in the ending of winter and the beginning of the beautiful and prosperous spring season. They believed that she brought about the birth of babies and the flowering of new plants, both symbolic of new life.
The Easter Bunny
The rabbit was thought to be the sacred animal of goddess Eastre and eggs are a sign of fertility. During the spring festival of Ostara many people expressed their appreciation of the goddess through bunnies, chicks and brightly colored eggs.
The rabbit symbol was introduced to America by the Germans in the 1700s, however it was not widely celebrated in America until after the ending of the civil war.
The hare is sacred in many cultures, believing that the hare is a remedy for fertility problems and a cure for female sterility. The rabbit’s speed and agility is also seen as a symbol of fleeing from sin and temptation.
History of the Easter Egg
Eggs are used in many countries as a sign of fertility. In fact, some people used to believe that the earth was even hatched from an egg. In some cultures, colored eggs are given as gifts as a wish for prosperity over the upcoming year.
Another story is that goddess eastre had a pet rabbit that was always by her side and laid colored eggs only once a year.
Easter Egg Hunt History
Old folkore suggests that when Christianity arose in Europe, those who followed the ‘old religion’ were shunned by many. Pagan adults made a game of hiding eggs while encouraging children to find the eggs. Authorities would bribe the children to show them where the eggs were hidden so that they could find the property owner and bring them to justice for not following the same beliefs.
The next time you are walking through the store picking out easter decorations, colored eggs and candy for your kids, you can now say that you know what they symbolize. Doesn’t it seem a bit ironic that a Christian holiday is interlaced with Pagan beliefs?
When your children are finding eggs, you can remember the old tale about eggs being a symbol of new life and prosperity wishing your children good luck in the upcoming year.