Memories of Easter afternoon consists of searching for eggs, and receiving big chocolate bunnies.
The day beloved by Christians around the world seems to celebrate one thing during church service and another thing in the afternoon events.
Tradition often dictates the direction of our holidays, leaving little room for wondering where it all started.
The Sun reported:
“The death of Jesus occurred around the Jewish Passover, which is traditionally held on first full moon following the vernal equinox.
As the full moon can vary in each time zone, the Church said that they would use the 14th day of the lunar month instead – the Paschal Full Moon – and host Easter Day on the following Sunday.”
During Easter, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated with a special message from the church, and personal acknowledgment of the hope He brought.
Over the centuries, different parts of the world began incorporating various activities that became closely associated with the day.
The most salient secular object associated with the religious day of Easter is the Easter bunny.
This furry, hopping creature that symbolizes the holiday was not always center stage.
History has more:
“The Bible makes no mention of a long-eared, short-tailed creature who delivers decorated eggs to well-behaved children on Easter Sunday; nevertheless, the Easter bunny has become a prominent symbol of Christianity’s most important holiday. The exact origins of this mythical mammal are unclear, but rabbits, known to be prolific pro-creators, are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests. Additionally, children often left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all his hopping.”
The Germans who immigrated to America are credited with bringing over a lot of influential traditions in modern times, to include many symbols and activities associated with Christmas.
One third of the new American population was German in the mid 1700’s giving them a prominent role in culture, according to First Choice Magazine.
The language was dominated by English in the colonies, but German was a close second.
Bible Info sheds some light on how the meaning of Easter may have influenced the German tradition:
“A brief history of Easter tells us that the name “Easter” comes from the Anglo-Saxon, Eostre, the name of the goddess of spring. Bunnies are symbols of fertility, while eggs were seen as pagan symbols of death and life.”
The secular traditions brought over by the Germans, such as the Easter bunny, are generally believed by experts to have nothing to do with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Easter itself is a re-configuring of sorts of the Biblical feast day of Passover, which is commonly thought to be a foreshadowing of the death of Christ.
Bible Info reported:
“When we look at the history of Easter we will find that the word Easter was substituted for the word “Pesach” which really is more correctly translated as Passover.”
While the pagan origins of the Easter bunny clearly come from folklore, the Christians have added additional meaning to the associated customs.
“From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection. Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century, according to some sources. One explanation for this custom is that eggs were formerly a forbidden food during the Lenten season, so people would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting, then eat them on Easter as a celebration.
Easter egg hunts and egg rolling are two popular egg-related traditions. In the U.S., 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 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.”
Some choose to celebrate the holiday this time of year with a Passover meal, remembering the death of Jesus, and some choose to follow a more modern itinerary on Easter Sunday.
The day is cherished by many, and every family has their favorite traditions they commemorate the day with.
While the Easter bunny doesn’t share in the church’s sacred remembrance, it is most children’s fondest recollection of family time in the spring.
(h/t Mommy Underground)