The Origin of the Easter Egg and the Easter Bunny Traditions
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The Origin of the Easter Egg and the Easter Bunny Traditions

The holiday of Easter has been held in tradition for roughly 2,000 years and has been known as the time that Jesus Christ rose from the dead three days after his crucifixion. However, this be that it may, this does not thoroughly explain where the symbolic images and traditions regarding Easter eggs and bunnies came from.

Easter is a holiday and tradition that has been practiced throughout the world for thousands of years.  According to Christian doctrine, Easter was the time that Jesus rose from the dead three days after his crucifixion.  So naturally, this time of the year marks a very significant and important religious event and will forever be a ceremonial event amongst Christians.  So if Easter is a time to worship the resurrection of Jesus Christ how did the Eater bunny, Easter eggs, and Easter egg hunts come about? 

The name Easter itself actually predates Christianity and belongs to ancient continental Germanic tribes.  Germanic tribes dedicated the portion of the year (spring) that brought forth new life to the Goddess of fertility Ostara.  They entitled this portion of the year as ‘Eostur-Monath’ which later became known as April.  During this time ancient Germanic tribes would celebrate spring with festivals filled with dancing and pay tribute to Gods and Goddesses of fertility in order to ensure survivability through the next winter season.   

The Easter egg is a symbolic image representing rebirth and new life.  Cultures and civilizations all over the world used the egg to represent new life for thousands of years.  Like that of a bird hatching from an egg to take in that first breath of life so does the Easter egg represent new life for the planet and all those who inhabit it.  In fact, the ancient Phoenicians, Egyptians, Hindu’s, Greeks, and of course Germans all believed that the world itself was one big egg that harnessed life and gave birth to new life at the end of every winter and beginning of every spring.  Decorating Easter eggs has also been a tradition practiced for many generations as well as hiding them so that young ones can be entertained while looking for them, thus the origin of the ‘Easter Egg Hunt.’  Another popular Easter game is the ‘Easter Egg Roll’ which takes place on the White House lawn every year on Easter Sunday. 

The Easter bunny is another symbolic image of Easter as well as a symbolic animal belonging to the Germanic Goddess Ostara.  The reason why a rabbit, or bunny, is symbolized during this time of the year is because rabbits are actually fairly notorious for their fast breeding rates.  Rabbits are one of the few mammals that can conceive, give birth, and conceive again within a short amount of time.  This, of course, naturally makes the rabbit a very symbolic image for fertility.  The Germanic Goddess Ostara is also often depicted in paintings and artwork as being hauled in a carriage drawn by a vast amount of bunnies.     

Sources:

Easter Symbols with Pagan Origins.” By Melissa Howard

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