Saturday, March 30, 2013

What Does the Bunny Have to Do With Easter?

Happy Easter Everyone,

Easter is synonymous with the risen Christ, spring and the Easter bunny.  All Christians go to church on Sunday to celebrate Jesus dying for our sins and rising on Easter to sit at the right hand of God. 

We all know this, but I bet you don't know about the Easter bunny.  There is nothing in the Bible about a long-eared, cotton-tailed Easter Bunny.  There's not a passage in the Bible about children painting eggs, hunting for eggs and getting baskets of scrumptious goodies either.  We all know real rabbits don't lay eggs, don't we.  Smile!

So what does the bunny have to do with Easter?  The rabbit has nothing to do with Easter.   Bunnies, eggs, Easter gifts and fluffy, yellow chicks all stem from pagan roots.  All of these things were incorporated into the celebration of Easter separately from the Christian tradition of honoring the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

According to the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture, the origin of the celebration - and the origin of the Easter Bunny - can be traced back to the 13th-century, pre-Christian Germany, when people worshiped several gods and goddesses.  The Teutonic deity Eostra was the goddess of spring and fertility.  Feasts were held in her honor on the Vernal Equinox.  Her symbol was the rabbit because of the animal's high reproduction rate.

The first Easter Bunny legend was documented in the 1500s.  By 1680, the first story about a rabbit laying eggs and hiding them in a garden was published.  These legends were brought to the United States in the 1700s, when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country, according to the Center for Children's Literature and Culture.

The tradition of making nests for the rabbit to lay its eggs in soon followed.  Eventually, nests became baskets and colorful eggs were swapped for candy, treats and other small gifts.  I'm wondering if Easter will become like Christmas; more and more gift oriented with ever bigger gifts.

Here are a couple traditions celebrated around the world:

"In Lancashire (England) on Easter eve boys and men have been in the habit of touring the towns and villages as 'Pace-eggers' begging for eggs before performing the 'Pace-Egging' or Pasch (i.e., Easter) play."

In Greece each person in a group bangs is red Easter Egg (not knowing that it is the symbol of the Goddess) against the eggs of all the others present in turn, saying, "Christ is risen,' and receives the reply 'He is risen indeed.'"

I think most people would be surprised that the word Easter goes all the way back to the Tower of Babel.  The origin begins not long after the biblical Flood.  For more information on this subject you can go to the sources below. 

Have a wonderful Sunday.  See you next week.

Sandy AKA Sandra K. Marshall   


K.T. Bishop said...

Great story about Easter!

Jennifer Faye said...

Interesting post! Thanks so much for sharing. Hope you have a wonderful Easter! :-)

Sandy said...

Thanks, K.T.

Thank you, Jennifer. It's an interesting subject.

Melissa Keir said...

What a great post! I always learn so much from your posts!

Sandy said...

Thank you, Melissa. So glad someone learns something from my posts. Smile!