Incredible Facts About Easter Traditions

In the weeks leading up to Easter, the holiday, frankly, has some strange and interesting elements to it.  Of course most people know about the religious significance of the day, but there are some other traditions that are less clear.

Like the inexplicable tradition of terrifying children with Easter Bunny costumes that should not exist.

Like the inexplicable tradition of terrifying children with Easter Bunny costumes that should not exist.

Like many traditions, it’s usually not until someone unfamiliar with them asks “why,” before you’ll try to seek out the answer yourself.  Questions like, “why does the Easter Bunny hide my chocolate at night” and “why does Dad always leave the room before the Easter Bunny comes.”  The innocent ignorance of children aside, there are some good questions, like:

“What Do Bunnies Have To Do With Easter?”

rabbit easter

Like many holidays that have European connections, this one comes from Pagan springtime traditions. Rabbits symbolize new life and birth for reasons that completely elude us.

"How were all these identical looking rabbits created? Truly the mystery of the century."

“How were all these identical looking rabbits created? Truly the mystery of the century.”

Due to their tendency to procreate and create huge litters, the rabbit was seen as the ideal choice for representing fertility and birth.  Once the Christian tradition came to Europe and spread, the traditions merged, much like the merger of Winter Solstice traditions and Christmas.

No kidding, the internet is full of these.

The merger of the Christmas Mall Santa tradition and the Easter Bunny has been decidedly less successful.

“Why Do We Color Eggs?”

easter egg

There are several explanations for this one, again starting with Pagan traditions regarding fertility and new life.

Sensing a theme here?

Sensing a theme here?

There are also origins in the 13th century, largely having to do with the fact that eggs were once forbidden during lent for Christians to consume.  As such, people would decorate hard boiled eggs which they would then eat on Easter to celebrate.

Compared to the bubonic plague, this may as well have been Woodstock.

Compared to the bubonic plague, this may as well have been Woodstock.

While we’re on the topic of eggs, the White House Easter Egg Roll is not a religious tradition either, and was started in 1878 by President Rutherford B. Hayes.

"Get this man a Macintosh computer and a fixed gear bicycle, stat!"

“Get this man a Macintosh computer and a fixed gear bicycle, stat!”

“What Do Eggs Have To Do With Bunnies?”

Naturally, rabbits do not lay eggs, for reasons that you already know or are too young for us to explain.

"This is my turf!"

“This is my turf!”

That said, the tradition actually comes from Germany, and likely was spread in the 1700’s by German immigrants in Pennsylvania.  The tradition refers to a rabbit called either “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws,” since Germans can barely even agree on using the same language.

Pictured: Unity

Pictured: Unity

Anyway, whatever they were calling the rabbit that day aside, the tradition was consistent in that the rabbit was an egg laying one.

Jury's still out about whether it clucked like a chicken though.

Jury’s still out about whether it clucked like a chicken though.

Like most traditions that only just barely make any sense, the egg laying Easter Bunny stuck and today we have the Easter Bunny that we all know and love!

creepy easter bunny 3

“Gee Don, this featureless horror is the best Easter Bunny costume I’ve ever seen!”

I’ve got a huge Easter party planned but that’s going to be expensive!

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Brendan