Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Christ and the Easter Bunny: How Did the Furry Thing Hop into the Picture?

Ever wondered about Easter? I'm not really referring to the Bible story because, even if you're not a Christian, you'd still know something about the amazing thing that Jesus did for all of us. I'm talking about the holiday of it changed and grew into an annual four days of purple bunnies, tie-dye eggs and more chocolate that should ever be consumed by a group of wired five-year-olds. Other than all the wacky commercial hype, it's a great holiday. It's a time for family, friends and the celebration of Christ's resurrection. Question is, was it always like it is now...?

  • The Easter Bunny: We think of it as a cute little fuzzy thing that lays foiled chocolate Easter eggs...but did you know that it is the animal of fertility? Well, it is. And when you make it pink, yellow or purple, it's the epitimy of spring itself. But it is in Germany where the Easter bunny is mentioned in Germanic script dated to the 16th Century. And as for the first known edible Easter bunnies...those date back to the 19th Century where the Germans were making them from not chocolate, but sugar and pastry.

  • The Pastel Colors: The reason for the colors are the most obvious. They are bright, cheerful and happy, and because Easter represents new birth and fertility, the colors of light, flowers and new growth in nature seems fairly appropriate.

  • The Easter Egg: The egg also goes back to the idea of new birth, but in different countries, there are different customs associaed with it. Did you know that before the Medival time of knights and fair ladies, the Easter Egg was colored and carved with many designs and then given as a token of love by a romantic admirer? In Germany, the tradition of giving the eggs to children had begun. In Greece, for example, the sacrifice of the blood Christ shed is represented by the exchange of crimson eggs. Even going back to the time of the Romans, the Easter egg was given as a prize after a race on an oval track.

  • The Time of Year: Here's something to think about: During the first Easter, the night of the last supper and Christ's arrest (now known as Good Friday) was at the end of passover. That's why Jesus and his 12 disciples ate unleven bread and herbs and wine. The food had dual significance: one - it signified the freedom of the Jews from Pharoh's rule, and two - it signified the freedom of the followers of Christ...without this liberation, the gates of Heaven would not been open to all those who believe upon death. So this is something to ponder: Why is it that passover stays the same every year, but the Easter long weekend jumps around faster than the Easter Bunny himself? And this is the best answer that I could find: Easter is observed by the Western churches on the first Sunday after the new moon on or following the Spring Equinox (March 21). "So Easter became a "movable" feast which can occur as early as March 22 or as late as April 25." The Eastern Christian churches that are closer to the birthplace of the new religion (and in which old traditions were strong) observe the holiday by the date of the Passover festival.

"Hop"-fully, that all clears up the mystery of the symbols of Easter. Have a good one!

Thanks to: for the facts.


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