What is the History of Easter?
Easter’s coming this April 9th, so get your baskets ready.
I’m sure a lot of us have been participants in an Easter egg hunt. Running, pushing, tripping, perhaps even biting to get some precious little eggs a big bunny hid for us to brawl over. Have you ever wondered why? It seems like a pretty weird way to celebrate the holiday, so how’d it even become a thing? Why is a big bunny hiding a bunch of eggs? Well, don’t worry because I’ve done the research you’re too lazy to do yourself. So let us answer the question, what is the history of Easter?
For some context, Easter is the first Sunday after every full moon on or after the beginning of the spring season. It’s known for its Easter Bunny and eggs full of candy. It can also go by the names Pascha and Resurrection Sunday.
Mostly, it’s a Christian festival and a cultural holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus. But it originated from an ancient pagan celebration of the start of spring. What does a bunny have to do with a biblical holiday? Absolutely nothing. But it may have actually come from the pagan origins. There is a pagan festival of Eostre. Eostre is a goddess whose symbol was a rabbit or hare, which symbolizes fertility and new life (painting pictured: “The Spring” by Franz Xaver Winterhalter). The true origins of the Easter Bunny are still unsure as of now, but this is a popular possibility.
What is for sure is that the idea of the bunny did come to America along with German immigrants in the 1700s who settled in Pennsylvania. They had a tradition about an egg-laying hare referred to as “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” A part of this tradition was the creation of nests made by children for this hare to lay colored eggs in.
This explains how we in America began incorporating these different aspects of festivals and traditions into the Christian holiday of Easter since both traditions take place towards the beginning of spring to celebrate some sort of life or rebirth.
To summarize, Easter originated from a pagan festival and was appropriated by Christianity, which also stole the idea of the Easter bunny from a German tradition about a bunny who could lay colorful eggs. That is what you need to know about the history of Easter.