Images of chocolate eggs, winsome rabbits and Jesus Christ flash unsubstantially through one’s mind, and often in that order, when considering Easter. Historically, we know that Easter weekend and the season leading up to it (40 days of lent) is a Christian holiday, in which the resurrection of Christ is celebrated. For this religious sector, Easter and its purpose is clear and they approach it in an evangelical manner. For the rest us, it is a more secular holiday in which the focus is on the mass consumption of egg and bunny shaped chocolate. How and why did these symbols and traditions become synonymous with Easter?
The Easter bunny, a prominent figure in the Christian holiday is not mentioned in the bible, but the rabbit has long been a representation of procreation, fertility and new life. Certain sources propose that the idea of an egg-laying rabbit came across to the United States with the Germans in the 1700s, and brought with them a tradition of the ‘Osterhase’ – egg-laying Hare. Eventually, it became a universal tradition to fill baskets or hide decorated chocolate eggs.
Of course, there are many theories regarding Easter and eggs. Some suggesting that it was initially a Pagan symbol of fertility and life, or that eggs were a forbidden food during the Lenten period and so were decorated and celebrated at the closing.
Either way, we thoroughly enjoy Easter, whether it is to celebrate the restoration of life, the birth and spring of new life, or simply an excuse to peel back the glossy foil, guilt-free for one weekend.