Spring is in the air and that means that the Easter bunny will be hopping into your garden with a basket full of Easter eggs pretty soon.
Now, we all know that the Easter bunny is a well-loved easter tradition, but where did he come from? And what about all the bright eggs he brings? Why do we hunt for Easter eggs?
If you’re interested in learning about Easter history, this guide is for you. Let’s take a look at where our Easter celebration traditions came from.
The Hopping History of the Easter Bunny
The Easter bunny appears in Easter movies and at local Easter egg hunts all the time. He’s a furry, short-tailed creature who rewards good children with colorful eggs at Easter time.
Now, considering that Easter is a biblical holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, you’re probably thinking that the Easter bunny must have been around the day he rose from the grave!
As a matter of fact, he wasn’t. The Bible actually doesn’t mention the rabbit at all. So, where the heck did he come from?
As it happens, bunnies are considered to be a symbol of new life and fertility. Since Easter celebrates new life, that may be why the bunny first came into the picture.
The OG Easter Bunny
The Easter bunny first came to the United States during the 1700s. German immigrants brought their tradition of a bunny that laid eggs at Easter time, called the Osterhase, with them when they moved to Pennsylvania.
In this tradition, young children made nests out of twigs and straw for the Easter bunny to lay his eggs in. In the morning, there would be candy, gifts, and chocolates in a beautiful basket where the kids’ nests had once been.
It wasn’t long before this tradition spread to other parts of the United States. That tradition quickly morphed and grew into the custom we now have of the Easter bunny!
The Origins and Symbolism of Easter Eggs
Okay, so we mentioned that the Easter eggs were brought by the Easter bunny. However, that’s far from the only connection that eggs have to Easter.
Easter eggs were actually originally linked to pagan traditions that celebrated spring. The egg represented new life and was part of celebrations and rituals in pagan cultures.
Christians then translated that tradition to say that eggs represent Jesus emerging from his tomb.
Painting Easter Eggs
During the 13th century, people began to decorate Easter eggs. Since eggs were forbidden during Lent (the 40-day period leading up to Easter), families painted and decorated eggs to mark the end of fasting.
Then, on Easter Sunday, Christians would eat their brightly colored eggs to celebrate the end of fasting.
Easter Egg Hunts
Easter egg hunts have been around for a while, too. These hunts date back to the 16th century when Martin Luther organized a hunt for his parish in Germany.
From there, the tradition quickly gained popularity. Today, children enjoy participating in this activity all over the country.
Easter Egg Rolls
In the late 1800s, the first Easter egg roll took place at the White House. In this tradition, children use sticks to roll colorful eggs across the White House lawn.
The tradition is said to symbolize rolling the stone away from the tomb on the day of Jesus’ resurrection. However, this has never been formally confirmed.
What About Easter Candy Traditions?
All those colorful Easter eggs are full of delicious candy (that’s the best part, right?) but where did that tradition come from? Why do we eat tons of sugary sweets on Easter Day?
We all know that the Easter eggs themselves are associated with Jesus’ resurrection and new life. However, what do chocolate and jelly beans have to do with it?
The truth is, the candy tradition dates back to Europe and that old German tradition we talked about. When the Easter bunny went to visit little children, he left goodies in the nests they had laid out.
Today, we enjoy filling Easter eggs with candies and hunting for them around the property.
Other Fun Easter Traditions
There are tons of other fun Easter traditions that you can enjoy aside from classic Easter egg hunts and visits from the Easter bunny. Let’s check out a couple of other traditions to know about.
The big Easter Parade is a huge event in New York City, that shuts down the majority of downtown. The parade lasts for a few hours and features floats, shows, and fun hats.
The processions originated when parishioners would flood out their church doors after Easter mass. Then, they would show off their spring hats and outfits as they made their way home.
Today, the procession is a fun way for families to get outdoors and celebrate the season. You can witness beautiful decorations and costumes if you visit this parade.
At Easter, Christians traditionally eat lamb. Lamb dates back to the Jewish faith when people would consume lamb at Passover.
Additionally, Christians call Jesus the Lamb of God. As such, lamb may also be symbolic of this name for Christ.
Easter Lillies are flowers that abound around Easter time. These flowers symbolize Jesus’ purity and are usually used to decorate homes and churches at Easter time.
Lillies grow from dormant bulbs and blossom into beautiful flowers. That is said to symbolize new birth and resurrection.
Learn All About the History of Easter Eggs and Bunnies
Now that you know about the rich history of Easter eggs and the Easter bunny, you’ll be able to enjoy the upcoming holiday even more. It’s a fun holiday with tons of interesting facts behind it.
Do you love learning about the history of your favorite traditions? Be sure to check out some of our other articles to learn even more fun facts!