Easter History Facts
For many people of the Christian faith, Easter is the most important holiday of the year. It is the culmination of the religious season of Lent and the day on which Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. In addition to its religious importance, Easter is also a popular secular holiday, thanks to its association with the Easter bunny, colorfully decorated eggs and of course, all that candy! In the next few minutes, you will read about some fun Easter fact that we bet you didn’t know. You will also learn some origins of the most popular traditions of Easter.
So where did the Easter bunny actually come from?
The first recorded celebration of Easter was back in the second century, but it probably goes back even further than that. According to one popular theory, early Christians adopted Easter from a Pagan Festival celebrating Eostre (or Ostara), the ancient Germanic goddess of spring and fertility. The goddess consorted with a hair (rabbit), which as the theory goes, was the original inspiration for today’s Easter bunny. But it appears that little evidence exists to support the story. The exact origins of the Easter bunny are not very clear and many conflicting stories, so we might never know the exact details.
Rabbits are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. Two ideas strongly associated with Spring and with Easter. The connection between rabbits and Easter arose in Protestant Europe in the 17th century and was probably brought to America a century later by German immigrants.
I bet you didn’t know that the Easter bunny isn’t the only animal associated with the holiday. Not every country gets their Easter goodies delivered to them by a cute and cuddly Easter bunny.
A cuckoo bird is the symbol of growth and rebirth. On Easter morning, children hunt for colored eggs and chocolate eggs left by the Easter Cuckoo. Makes more sense that bird left eggs instead of a rabbit right? We thought so too!
In the 1800s rabbits were introduced in Australia. Because rabbits breed like, well, rabbits, they quickly overpopulated this continent and destroyed thousands of acres of crops. Therefore the rabbit is not exactly a sign of growth and rebirth and not a symbol of Easter either. So here they have the Easter Bilby, a marsupial native to Australia. The Easter Bilby brings Easter Sunday treats to Australian kids.
Different parts of Germany, kids wait for the Easter Fox, chicks, rooster or stork. Most common is the Easter Fox or Osterfuchs. The tradition is, the day before Easter, Children would make a nest of moss and hay for the magical creature. In the morning the children would find their nest they made filled with goodies from the Easter Fox. Always important for the German children to make sure their pets were secure in another room so as not to chase away the Easter Fox. Not sure why children in America never thought of this really important point. Over the past decades, most parts of Germany have adopted the American tradition fo the Easter bunny.
The eggs also symbolize fertility and renewal. They may have become popular on Easter for more practical reasons. For centuries, the Christian Church prohibited the use of eggs along with other foods during lent, and it became a special treat to eat them again at Easter. Decorating eggs is one of the oldest Easter customs. Really, the eggs are a celebration of spring, remember the whole growth and rebirth?
One of history’s most lavish Easter traditions developed in late 19th century Russia, when royalty and other members of high society began giving each other jewel encrusted eggs as Easter gifts. The man behind these insanely valuable eggs was the artist jeweler, Goldsmith, Peter Carl Faberge, who was commissioned by Czar Alexander the third to create jeweled Easter eggs for his wife.
For most Americans, Easter is about the sweet stuff, CANDY!
US candy makers produce some 90 million chocolate bunnies and 16 billion jelly beans for Easter each year. Jelly beans were invented in the 17th century, but they only became an Easter candy in the 1930s after merchants pointed out how much they look like eggs. Today, more candy is sold for Easter than any other holiday except for Halloween. And more than 88% of American parents prepare Easter baskets for their kids from its powerful religious significance to its popular customs. Easter ranks among our most widely celebrated holidays this spring. Sweeten up your celebration with a little history and some funny Easter facts, we bet you didn’t know.
For unique Easter ideas check out Easter Gifts and Fun Ideas
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