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Easter Where did all the rabbits and eggs come from?

Easter is supposed to be a time to celebrate the death of Jesus with merriment and food, so how did rabbits and eggs get involved in all of this?

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play Easter Rabbits and Eggs have become part of the holiday. (The Conversation)

You may have noticed that between the endless bowls of food, the Easter message broadcasts that everyone seemed to have copied from the same website and the songs of Easter, bunnies (or rabbits, if we all want to be childish) have shown up not once or twice as we celebrate one of Christianity’s most important holidays.

If I remember the Bible’s contents correctly (and I don’t), Jesus Christ was not visited by a colourful, wide-eyed rabbit before he died, neither did the disciples send rabbit emojis to each other when new circulated that Jesus had risen, so where did these bunnies come from?

If you were ever part of Illuminati gang, you may have heard this before as the explanation for everything from Christmas to why Pastor Fatoyinbo has a sports car.

play Christians the world over celebrate Easte rwith re-enactments of the events leading up to Jesus' death, among many things. (Hope For Nigeria)

Easter bunnies and eggs have nothing to do with Christianity. They are from pagan traditions that found their way into the celebration of Easter as a holiday separate from what Christians celebrate as the birth of Jesus.

Now before you get all worked up, there’s something important to note here; the Easter Bunny and Eggs were incorporated into the celebration of Easter, not the celebration of Jesus Christ’s death.

ALSO READ: Here's the origin story behind Easter

If you’re interested in the history, the Easter Bunny and Eggs can be traced back to 13th century Germany, a time before Germans were Christians but they dressed in flowing robes like church choristers.

The Germans then worshipped an army of gods; one of the most important was the deity, Eostra, the goddess of spring and fertility who had feasts held in her honour regularly.

Due to its high reproductive rate, rabbits were her symbol.

Making babies and inspiring Christians like rabbits

Because they carry life in them, eggs were also a strong symbol of fertility at the time.

These two elements became associated with Easter around a hundred years later when Christianity gained a foothold in Germany and the pagan traditions were infused into this new religion to make it… relatable.’

Not long after, stories about Easter Egg Hunts began to appear in local publications.

The tradition made its way out of Europe when Germans, regaled with tales of the new world, left their homes and settled en masse in the United States.

play Cadbury's Creme Egg has become an Easter favourite. (Morrison's)

 

Christianity made its way to our shores from the West in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a period by which most of these elements had become a part of the larger Christian culture.

Nowadays, the belief in the bunny and eggs has translated into Easter Egg hunts, exchanging decorated baskets filled with eggs and an industry that thrives off Easter gifts and chocolate-filled eggs.

ALSO READ: What does Easter mean to Christians?

Easter Eggs have made their way into the church and the explanation is often that they represent re-birth, particularly in the resurrection of Jesus.

While the stark truth is that there’s nothing fundamental connecting to, it is a clear case of one finding a necessary connection between two important systems.

Religions tend to grow outward or expand like movements. In doing this, they are faced with the challenge of fitting into the lifestyle of their new converts without altering too much, yet retaining the core of the faith.

It is why Muslims in the Arabian desert are more likely to be covered up than say Muslims in the United States because the cultural norms (and geographical realities i.e weather) that made that necessary in the Middle East do not apply in the United States.

So are we doing anything wrong?

Due to the weight of conspiracy theories, many Christians are very sceptical about what these foreign elements mean to the sanctity of their faith.

Christianity is a religion where symbols, like the Cross, the halo, sheep and the shepherd have come to represent important values and ideals, not because they came packaged in a .zip file when Christ re-appeared on the day of ascension, but because of what they inspire.

play Symbols like the cross and the crown of thorns have gained importance for the values, experiences and ideals that they represent. (Jesus Christ Wallpapers)

 

Easter Eggs and Bunnies could be similar. Ultimately, it’s each person’s choice; a non-christian would happily eat chocolate eggs without giving a thought to what they represent.

On a celebration of Jesus’ death, the freedom that he is believed to have given should be most important.

While you’re eating those eggs this holiday, it’s up to you what you decide to see. You could settle for the happiness that chocolate has spread around the world, or decide to pay your regards to 13th Century Germans for their thoughtful gift.

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