Happy Easter! Easter has always consisted of me being in a dress and having a brunch with family and friends. The best Easter was when my family went to the park for a picnic with the Phillips family. Those park outings were always fun. The outing was always at Admiral Baker Field.
It is a military park/campground/RV park. This was always my favorite park. They have this woodsy area in the back and a little creek. The Phillips had a son, David but we always called him by his middle name, Matthew. Three years younger than me so in the beginning it was a bit annoying having him around. We used to go explore the woods area with our dads and once came across an Indian teepee made of branches. I doubt it was real, but it was really cool.
Back to Easter. I never really understood this holiday. I understand the story, although how this all evolved to bunny rabbits and eggs. Also, why the heck do we have Easter eggs? Rabbits don’t lay eggs. Did they bring in the chicks because they came from the eggs? Where did the eggs come from and why would a rabbit hide these eggs?
The story of Jesus basically goes like this: Jewish officials and chief priests were jealous of Jesus’s popularity and wanted to crucify him. One of Jesus’s men betrays Jesus and brings him to be crucified. Jesus mentions at the dinner that he will be betrayed. Jesus is killed and they protect his tomb to make sure no one steals his body. Come later the body is gone and everyone says that he has come back to life. Easter is the celebration of Jesus’s resurrection.
So where does the damn bunny and eggs come in? What does that have to do with Jesus’s resurrection? Well, it doesn’t have anything to do with him. The traditions of the Easter bunny, eggs, egg hunts, etc.; are all part of Pagan traditions that have been interwoven with the Christian Easter holiday. Reading up on this holiday; the University of Florida’s Center for Children’s Literature and Culture talks about the Easter bunny roots. During pre-Christian Germany, many gods and goddesses were worshiped in line with pagan beliefs and culture. Around the same time as Easter, on the Vernal Equinox, feasts were held in the honor of a Teutonic deity Eostra, the goddess of spring and fertility. Eostra’s symbol was a rabbit, as the creature has a high reproduction rate. Then lo and behold; Roman Catholicism became the main religion in Germany around the 15th century. With this move, the pagan beliefs were merged with the celebration of Easter. Thus, this is why rabbits and eggs are associated with Jesus’s resurrection. History.com mentions that German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania introduced the Easter bunny who laid eggs, called Osterhase, in the 1700’s. Osterhase means Easter hare.
Now, rabbits do not lay eggs. They have kittens. I’m not screwing with your head. Baby rabbits are not called bunnies. Bunnies are a cute little name we give these cute little creatures. A rabbit has a litter of kittens. Look it up folks! So, if rabbits give birth to baby rabbits, aka kittens, where do the eggs come from?
In the actual story, the animal is a hare and not a rabbit. Hares are larger and do not live as long as rabbits. Hares have longer ears and larger feet than rabbits and are faster than rabbits. Rabbits are born without hair and blind. Hares are born with hair and can see. A baby hare is called leveret, while rabbits give birth to kittens. Food-wise it is said that hares are gamier in taste and rabbits have a mild chicken taste. Hares live above ground in nests while rabbits live underground. Rabbits have been domesticated and can be pets. Hares are wild. Hares live by themselves while rabbits are very social. Rabbits feed on soft vegetables and grass. Hares feed on twigs, shoots and bark.
Well, the Goddess Eostre, the Goddess of Fertility in Norse mythology, can turn herself into a hare. In the legend, Eostre came upon an injured bird and saves the animal by turning the bird into a hare. This now-hare can still lay eggs because she was originally a bird. To pay gratitude to the Goddess, this hare laid colored eggs on the Goddess’s feast day every year. Eostre’s feast day was held on the first full moon following the vernal equinox. The date of Easter is calculated as the Sunday following the paschal full moon, which is the full moon that falls on or after the vernal (spring) equinox. So you see how these two celebrations have intertwined into one holiday.
Now the hiding of the eggs? The only thing I have found is that in In Medieval Europe, eggs were forbidden during Lent. Eggs laid during that time were often boiled or otherwise preserved. I think it also has to do when the Germans brought the tradition over to the United States in the 1700’s. The children celebrated by finding the Ostereier, or as we say: Easter eggs. German lesson: The singular form, Easter egg, is Osterei. And East in German is Osten. If anyone wanted to know..
Linus van Pelt: Every Easter the Easter Beagle comes dancing along with his basket full of eggs, which he hands out to all the good little children.
Sally Brown: That sounds faintly familiar. I remember sitting out in a stupid pumpkin patch all night waiting for The Great Pumpkin to come. That was the worst night of my life.
Linus van Pelt: But this is different. That was Halloween. This is Easter.
That’s what Easter is all about, Charlie Brown.