What is the significance of the Easter Bunny? Why does he leave eggs all over our yard and peeps in plastic grass inside the house? When it comes to facts about Easter, many families stick to deciding which outfits to wear to church and whether the main course should be ham or duck. Daily Mom is here to deliver 3 lesser-known facts about Easter so you can impress your family with more than just your amazing cooking skills and wardrobe during Easter dinner this year.
First, it is necessary to state that this is written from the perspective of a Christian who celebrates Easter as a Christian holiday. In Christianity, Easter is celebrated as a Holy Day. It is the day that Jesus Christ rose from the dead after 3 days in the tomb following his execution by Jewish officials in Jerusalem.
The Date Of Easter
Our first facts about Easter are focused on the ever-changing date. The date of Easter changes from year to year. For those of us who like to maintain some sort of consistency in our lives and schedule, this can drive us up a wall. But, there is a good reason for changing the date, and it’s all about the moon.
In 325 CE (or AD), the Council of Nicaea decided that the date of Easter would take place on the first Sunday after the first full moon that occurs on or after the vernal equinox. The vernal equinox welcomes spring to the northern hemisphere. Pagan cultures and religions recognize this as the perfect balance between the light and the dark. Since early Christians were fighting to be relevant and gain momentum as a movement, they decided that was a beautiful symbol of what they wanted to celebrate during spring and adopted the vernal equinox as their own symbol of rebirth.
Read More: My Mom Still Colors Eggs With Me
Facts About Easter Symbols: It’s All Pagan
The early Christians had to link up with something that was relevant and familiar in order to help their new religion get off the ground, so to speak, so using familiar symbols helped to move their ministry forward, while also providing a helpful tool for explaining what they were trying to say.
The Easter Bunny was never mentioned in any of the Gospels, but it has a long history of being a symbol of fertility and new life. Easter eggs were also a pagan symbol, another symbol of the preciousness of life, but over time, they gained representation of Jesus’ emergence from the tomb. In the middle ages, it was forbidden to eat eggs during Lent (the 6-week period of fasting and abstinence leading up to Easter), so once Easter arrived, they painted the shells to celebrate the end of this period and that Christ rose from the dead.
The sweetness of the candy that hides in the basket alongside the plastic eggs, or, if you prefer the healthy and delicious treat of hard-boiled eggs, all symbolize the goodness of new life and the sweetness that comes with the Resurrection.
The Name “Easter”
The name of the religious celebration, “Easter”, is not something Christians nabbed from the Bible or any other sacred writings. It’s also not the name of anyone especially prominent in the religion. In fact, “Easter” comes from the pre-Christianity goddess, Eostre.
A Monk, who went by the name Venerable Bede, lived in the late 7th and early 8th centuries and wrote of his observations of how the early Christians celebrated the Resurrection (Easter). They called their celebration “Eosturmonath” after the Germanic goddess Eostre (Ostara). She was recognized as the bringer of springtime and flowers, and after all of the celebrations in her honor, the name stuck around for the Christian celebration of the Resurrection.
Often times, when the facts about Easter are brought up in certain circles, the fact that none of it was really original bothers people. For others, it is perfectly acceptable that religion used relevant symbols and religious figures in order to share their good news to avoid certain persecution. To breathe life into Easter, Christianity dared to be original in a very unoriginal way and spoke life into a truth that was invisible and often persecuted in the early days of the Church. This has become a beloved and treasured holiday that has many meanings for many people in this day and age.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article Beyond The Basket: Teaching Children The History Of The Easter Story.