Easter is celebrated to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his crucifixion. There are numerous Easter traditions that are followed by various Christian communities all over the world. Easter eggs are a part of the Easter festival and symbolize rebirth and renewal of life and faith in all that is good. There are many theories with regard to the Easter eggs and Easter bunny and its traditions.
Reason to have Easter eggs
Buying chocolate Easter eggs on the day of Easter is customary. Christians across the world buy Easter egg chocolates as the hollow inside the egg represents the tomb of Jesus Christ. Millions of Easter egg chocolates are sold across the world and the Easter baskets are decorated with the Easter egg chocolates. This is a pagan festival and the Easter eggs also represent birth and new life. People exchange Easter eggs to represent new life and renewal of faith.
The Easter eggs chocolates are gifts given to children. There are many Easter games such as the Easter egg hunt that children participate in. In the Victorian era, Easter eggs were made with cardboard and decorated with satin. The inside of these cardboard eggs was filled with gifts for children.
Since the 17th century, the tradition of making hollow Easter egg chocolate started in Germany and spread across most of the Christian countries. Millions of Easter egg chocolates have been sold on this day since then.
Easter eggs come in a variety apart from chocolate eggs alone. Handcrafted wooden and plastic decorative Easter eggs are also given as gifts during this season. European countries still follow the tradition of using real eggs as they represent fertility. The tradition of decorating eggs is a tradition that is as old as 60,000 years and was followed by the Sumerians and the Egyptians.
The earliest tradition of decorating an Easter egg was to stain the egg with color red to represent the blood of Jesus Christ during his crucifixion. Many churches adopted this tradition untill the Romans ruled. Post the Roman era, many traditions and customs across the world have been created regarding the decoration and use of Easter eggs.
In many Orthodox churches, the priest blesses the Easter eggs and distributes them on the Holy Saturday of Easter season. There are many interesting traditions followed in Poland and many other European countries which differ from each other.
In Greece, Thursday is the day of communion and on this day women dye the Easter eggs with onion skin and vinegar. Wax is used in Ukraine to decorate the Easter eggs. Natural and artificial dyes are used to decorate and color the Easter eggs. In Germany, trees and bushes are decorated with Easter eggs.
The tradition of the Easter bunny started as a myth and folklore where the bunny, who is considered to be a fertile animal carries eggs. There is no reference to the Easter bunny in the Bible. This legend started in Germany where the Easter bunny would create an Easter basket with colored eggs, treats, and toys for children and distribute amongst them on his way home.
The rabbit was an important representation of fertility and birth in most of the ancient churches because it is hermaphrodite and can reproduce without losing their virginity. Hence, the Easter bunny is also associated with Ishtar, the goddess of fertility as well as the Virgin Mary.
The tradition of making the Easter bunny chocolates become potent since the 19th century and spread across all the Christian countries. It is believed that the Easter bunny delivers candies and treats to children on the day of Easter Sunday in the morning.
Many Lutherans do not follow most of the Easter traditions as they consider them pagan. Lamb is served on the day of Easter because it is a Jewish tradition to sacrifice the lamb on the day of Easter. Easter eggs and bunny symbolize fertility, birth, and abundance. Children are gifted with Easter baskets with many goodies, candies, and treats on this day.
The symbolic importance of Easter
Just like Santa Claus gives gifts to children on Christmas Eve, the Easter Bunny gives gifts and treats to well-behaved children. In many of the ancient churches, three hares conjoined by their ears represent the Holy Trinity. Since rabbits can reproduce an offspring even if they are pregnant, they are associated with fertility, Jesus, and the Virgin Mary. In many of the churches you can see Madonna holding the rabbit which symbolizes virginity as well as fertility.
The rabbit also symbolizes purity and innocence. This custom of the Easter Bunny was adopted by the German immigrants in the 18th century and has been widespread since then. It spread over to the United States by the end of the 19th century. Since then all the sweet shops in the U.S sell the bunny candies and chocolates on Easter.
During the middle ages, it was a tradition to decorate the eggs and eat them during the feast of Easter as they represented the resurrection of Jesus as well as birth. In yet another folklore, it is said that rabbit hit the eggs during the Easter for children to find them. This is also one of the reasons why the Easter Egg Hunt game is played for children to find them.
Jews celebrate the Easter in the month of March as they celebrate Easter as per the Solar calendar. Easter is special for Jews as they were asked to go to the Holy land of Jerusalem on the day of Easter as the Pharaohs of Egypt no more wanted them as slaves. The Easter date is selected as the date of the full moon whether it falls in March or April. If it does not happen on March 22, then it is celebrated in April on the full moon day.
A few orthodox Christians and churches refrain from eating eggs and meat in the Easter week. The Easter bunny is more of folklore than a tale from the Bible, that is the reason most of the Orthodox Christians do not follow Easter egg fasting or believe in the Easter bunny.