This year, Easter will fall on April 12th, which is the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox. This holiday is unlike most other holidays in that each year, it is celebrated on a different date. In 2021, it will be celebrated on April 4th. For Christians, this holiday celebrates the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the hope of eternal life. However, where did this holiday originate, and why do we give our children colored eggs that are hidden by an Easter bunny?
Easter is the celebration of spring and rebirth represented by Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility. Although little is known about her, it is believed that her sacred animal was the hare. The worship of Eostre was closely tied to the end of winter and rebirth in spring. April was originally called “Eostre’s Month”. In addition, the Easter bunny comes from a tale in German folklore which originated with the German Lutherans. This “Easter hare” originally judged whether or not the children were good enough to receive colored eggs and candy which he carried in a basket. This tradition is similar to Santa Claus judging the good or bad behavior of children at Christmas time and his bringing gifts to the “good” children.
Eggs have always been symbols of fertility since ancient times. In 1st century AD, in medieval Europe, eggs were forbidden to be eaten during Lent. Therefore, children would go door-to-door begging for eggs before Lent began. Later, German Protestants kept the custom of eating colored eggs for Easter. The Easter bunny found his way to America in the 18th century via German immigrants who became known as the “Pennsylvania Dutch”.
Today, Easter continues to be an extremely popular holiday giving people hope and happiness that winter is over, and the promise that spring is just around the corner. So, children all over the world will hunt the multicolored eggs that the Easter bunny has hidden while they try to catch a glimpse of that furry, little visitor with his basket filled with goodies for all the “good” little boys and girls.