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 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?”
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.
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.
“Why Do We Color Eggs?”
There are several explanations for this one, again starting with Pagan traditions regarding fertility and new life.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Anyway, whatever they were calling the rabbit that day aside, the tradition was consistent in that the rabbit was an egg laying one.
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!
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