What is Easter and where did the word come from?
Easter is a religious holiday whereby those who believe celebrate Jesus's rising from the dead. It is a day that is revered by Christians as the resurrection of Christ. Oddly enough, the word "Easter" has no real significance as far as its name. There are a lot of theories as to where the word derived from, but no one knows for sure. Some say it is derived from the goddess "Oestre"/"Eastre". It is said her name in German is Ostara and represents the dawn and spring which would make sense tying it to Easter.
Why isn't Easter the same day every year?
Easter is always on a Sunday but it must follow the full moon after the vernal equinox.
So where did the Easter bunny and decorating eggs come from?
Most people celebrate Easter regardless of their religious beliefs. We all remember Easter egg hunts, eating chocolate bunnies, waking up to find our hidden baskets the Easter Bunny left us, and decorating hard boiled eggs.
The bunny, or rabbit, may have stemmed from a long time ago where the rabbit was the ancient symbol for life and fertility. Way back in the 17th century the Protestants in Europe connected the rabbit with Easter and that idea was then brought over to America by German immigrants. In other countries there are other animals associated with Easter such as the cuckoo bird in Switzerland.
Eggs represent life however were banned from consuming during Lent (the 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday), along with wine, milk, cheese, and meat. Therefore, on Easter Sunday eating those eggs was a treat after not having any for 40 days! The egg is also considered to represent Jesus's emerging from his tomb and resurrecting to life on Easter Sunday.
Decorating the eggs started in Russia where they would put jewels on them and give them as gifts. A name that may pop into your head is Faberge who lived in Russia and was asked by Czar Alexander to decorate the eggs for his wife. He is known for lavishly exquisite egg decor. Look how beautiful these Faberge eggs are!
Now we dye them with a multitude of colors, while we also hide the plastic ones with treats inside.
Speaking of treats, you probably won't be surprised to know Easter is the second biggest holiday with the most candy sales; Halloween of course being the first.
The traditions associated with Easter are a little odd when you think about it being a very religious holiday and yet we have bunnies delivering eggs because bunnies don't even lay eggs....??? However, it is truly a holiday celebrated by most of us so enjoy your eggs and candy this Sunday!