In second grade I failed a science test. I blame Easter and the Cadbury Bunny. The question that put me over the edge was, “Do rabbits give birth to live babies or do they lay eggs.” I chose eggs. Don’t tell me that television doesn’t influence children! Every Easter I think of that science test.
So where did the Easter Bunny come from? What do eggs have to do with Christ rising from the dead? It’s a story of blending religions, really. Spring is the season of rebirth and renewal. Many pagan cultures used to hold spring festivals to celebrate this renewal of life and promote fertility, such as Eostre or Eastre, named after the goddess of dawn, spring and fertility. The egg, being a symbol of fertility, and rabbits, being the fertile little creatures they are, entered the scene as symbols.
With the spread of Christianity, it was common for missionaries to use pagan ideas and rituals within the context of the Christian faith to make them more relatable, turning pagan festivals into Christian holidays. The Eostre festival occurred around the same time as the Christians’ celebration of Christ’s resurrection, and so the two celebrations became one, rabbit and egg in tow.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get some chocolate!