Our Lord has written
of the resurrection,
not in books alone,
but in every leaf in spring-time.
He’s fluffy, friendly, and oh, so fertile!
Actually, the entire Easter holiday has its roots in pre-Christian tradition. Early Christians adapted the Jewish Passover and pagan celebrations to mark their highest holiday of faith, in which the Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled by the death and resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ.
The ancient Anglo-Saxons worshipped Ostara, a goddess of fertility. During the spring moon, or vernal equinox, tribal members would offer seeds and colored eggs on a fertility altar to please and appease this goddess.
Christians transformed the word “Ostara” to “Easter” to mark the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection in the springtime. This timing was both historical and logical, as the Last Supper of Christ was actually a celebration of the Passover Seder, which also occurs in the spring.
Since early Roman times and before, people have regarded the egg as a symbol of new life. As a sign of Christian rebirth, the egg is ideal. What once appeared to be lifeless has sprung into new life. A bird hatching from an egg has been seen as a type of resurrection, even as Christ stepped out of the sealed tomb of death.
How did the Easter Bunny traditions begin?
Rabbits are among the most prolific of all living creatures. They exemplify fertility, as they may produce many offspring at one time. According to Anglo-Saxon mythology, Ostara (again, the fertility goddess) transformed a bird into a bunny, who laid colorful eggs for children. Thus began the tradition of bunny giving children decorated eggs in the spring.
As real rabbits begin birthing their many young this spring, one cannot help but consider our great blessings. Aren’t we fortunate that the Easter Bunny drops jelly beans and chocolate eggs, instead of what all those other bunnies leave in our yards?
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