As Easter approaches and the Easter Bunny gear up to come to visit everyone this holiday, you can’t help but wonder why this tradition started and how it has anything to do with the death of Jesus Christ.
Although we don’t read in the Bible about the Easter Bunny or even Easter Eggs, these cherished traditions, as well as a few others, have been around for centuries.
Introduced to the Americans by the German immigrants who brought over their stories of an egg-laying hare, the Easter Bunny became the most prominent worldly symbol of the Christian holiday.
The exact origins of this mythical mammal are unclear, but rabbits, known to be fertile procreators, are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life.
According to some sources, the Easter Bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws”. The children of the immigrants made nests in which this creature could lay its colourful eggs. Eventually, this custom spread across the United States and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candies and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced the nests.
Easter Eggs, an ancient symbol of new life, from a Christian perspective, is said to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection. Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century, according to some sources.
Eventually, these traditions made their way to South-Africa and serve as a form of entertainment for old and young.
When we celebrate Easter this weekend, take a moment to reflect on the past – the traditions and symbols that came along with it- and remember the true meaning of this holiday and why we celebrate it.