Easter is one of the world’s major festivities celebrated in many parts of the world. It’s interesting to note, however, that this celebration didn’t come out exactly the way it has been celebrated during its inception hundreds of years ago. In fact many countries still have those unique rituals that we know little about which has been incorporated in our Christian version of Easter.
One of the little-known facts about the origins of Easter is that it’s actually started out as a celebration of the spring equinox, which is being viewed as the day of rebirth, i.e., it marks the beginning of the spring season. The name “Easter” was actually derived from the spring goddess “Eastre” which means “to shine.” Other ancient cultures also have their own version of rebirth or resurrection, and hence a different origin of Easter. Coincidentally, the Christian faith also has a resurrection story of its own as recorded in the Gospels. No wonder, Easter gained acceptance into the Christian world and would be known today as the day when Jesus Christ rose up from the dead.
Despite being largely “Christianized”, some symbols and rituals used during the ancient Easter has been carried on to the present. Every wondered how we got the Easter Eggs and Easter Bunny? They were all from the original Easter, only this time, we incorporate Christian symbolism into them. The Romans and Greeks believed that every living being came from an egg, hence the symbol of life, fertility, and rebirth. This fits perfectly with the “seed of life” and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nowadays, an event known as the “egg roll” has been widely practiced which came to mean as the rolling away of the rock that sealed the tomb of the risen Christ. Easter eggs also symbolized tomb where Jesus was buried and hatching represents resurrection or new life.
What about the Easter Bunny? There’s no exact parallelism with the Christian belief with the “Easter Hare.” It’s actually a rabbit-spirit, and like the egg, it also represents fertility due to the fact that rabbits often give multiple births. There is, however, an interesting twist to the present Easter Bunny. The egg hunt, which is also a recent addition to the ancient Easter celebrations where children hunt for the most number of eggs, began due to some beliefs that the hares lay eggs. Much like the Santa Claus of Christmas Eve, this Easter Bunny also gives presents – a basketful of candy – to children while they’re asleep.