The Meaning of Easter, Eggs and Bunnies
During this popular celebration, the meaning of Easter, eggs and bunnies holds differently for different folks. However the most popular one is that it is a day that generously celebrates the resurrection of Christ. This is a very significant day for Christians. It is also classified as a transferable feast since it doesn’t fall on a set day or time on yearly basis.
Christian ministries situated around the Western parts of the world celebrate this festival on the 1st Sunday after the full moon right after the vernal-equinox on 21st March. This means that this special day is observed anywhere in-between 22 March & 25 April yearly. Orthodox Christians utilize the Julian calendar to compute the period Easter will take place and hence celebrate the day 1 week or 2 weeks after the Western churches has celebrated theirs – which follows the Gregorian schedule.
The precise root of this religious feast is not yet known. Some origins assert that the word Easter is gotten from Eostre, which is a Teutonic spring goddess. Other records trace the feast to the Latin period hebdomada-alba, or also referred as ‘white week’, which is a prehistoric reference to Easter week and the white clothing put on by folks that were baptized during that period. Via a translation mistake, the term afterwards appeared as esostarum in Old-High German which finally turned out to be Easter in English word. In the Spanish arena, Easter is referred to as Pascua; and in the French world as Paques. These terms are gotten from the Greek & Latin ‘Pascha or Pasch’ – for Passover. The Lord ‘Jesus’ crucifixion & resurrection happened when he moved to Jerusalem to make merry at Passover – a Jewish feast memorializing prehistoric Israelites’ exit from slavery in Egypt. Clearly – Pascha sooner or later came to mean Easter.
Do you know that more than 95 million Easter bunny chocolates are produced on yearly basis?
Easter celebration is a whole period for the Christian church calendar year, as contrasting to one-day compliance. The lent period, which is a 40-day period that leads to Easter-Sunday, is a moment of reflection & atonement and characterizes the forty days that the Lord Jesus spent unaccompanied in the wilderness before launching out on his ministerial assignment – the very period that Christians consider he overcame several temptations brought up by the devil. A day prior to the Lent period is referred to as Mardi Gras or as Fat-Tuesday, and is a last hurrah of meals and pleasure prior to the fasting starting. The very week preceding Easter is referred to as the Holy Week and comprises Maundy Thursday, which memorializes Jesus’ last supper with his followers (disciples); and then Good Friday tributes the day of Jesus’s crucifixion; and the Holy Saturday that centers on the period between the crucifixion & resurrection. The fifty day time succeeding Easter Sunday is referred to as Eastertide and comprises a festivity of Lord Jesus’ ascent to heaven.
Much more to Easter’s prominence – a lot of things have circled around it to commercialize the period as we can clearly talk about dunes of jelly beans and marshmallow chicks that show up on most shops every spring. Much over time – just as other festival periods, several customs and pagan traditions comprising those of Easter eggs and bunnies, candies and baskets – have become an acceptable part of the gracious holiday.
Now – you pass thru any store during Easter period and you will find bunnies, eggs, and loads of candies calling your attention. You might even not recognize the feast itself except for these displays.
The Easter Bunny Origin:
Art by Arna Baartz
The chronological reference made to the Easter Bunny period dates back to the sixteenth century German story. The story talks about a legend (an enigmatic creature – a hare) by the name Oschter Haws visiting kids as they were asleep & rewarding each of them for their good conducts much like Santa. The kids prepared nests for the hare – that then gladly lays beautifully coloured eggs in them.
This folktale found its way into the United States thru some immigrants from Germany around the 18th century. In the U.S. – the hare turned out to become a rabbit and this grew in fame resulting to celebrated books written around it such as the The Tale of Peter Rabbit -1902 & The Easter Bunny That Overslept – 1957.
Some others have hypothesized that there is a link between hares and Eostre (the Anglo-Saxon goddess). Eostre is a goddess from whose title some schools of thought assume “Easter” derived its name.
The Easter egg Origin:
One hypothesis is that eggs link to Easter figuratively! With a hard shell containing fresh life, so also Jesus’s tomb contained his body.
Looking at another point of view, here we have an egg dealer by the name Simon of Cyrene who was pushed to lay down his egg basket so as to support Jesus in lifting his cross to his crucifixion location. At the time this man got back to his basket, he observed that his eggs had been astoundingly decorated.
The Easter custom of egg colouring likely originated from old time Christian communities around the Mesopotamia region that coloured hen eggs red to signify Jesus’s blood.
These believers also might have made up the egg character from Passover – with the hard boiled egg being one of the 7 symbols on the Seder plate.
Passover and Easter are powerfully linked to one another – as the Last Supper Jesus shared with his men (disciples) moments prior to the crucifixion was a Passover Seder.
Soon after Jesus disciples started declaring Jesus’s resurrection, these guys kept on celebrating annual Passovers in the way that the Lord Jesus had told them to, recalling his death and more significantly, what his death and resurrection meant for inhabitants of the earth.
While history has played its part well into the current times, folks all over the world now spend billions of dollars on Easter candies, and on coloured eggs and bunnies.
Happy Easter from Art Xtedia!