For the vast majority of us Easter is a time to gather with family, watch the little ones hunt down eggs, and enjoy a meal. We know that Easter is largely associated with Christianity and the resurrection of Jesus. But why is this so? The birth and death of Jesus have not been pinned down to precise dates, and the days in which we celebrate the occurrences are just placeholders.
The original Easter holiday stems from pagans celebrating the goddess of fertility and renewal they called “Eostre” at the turn of the season on the Spring equinox.. Also associated with this pagan celebration was an egg-laying rabbit they called “osterhase”. From there, early Christians co-opted these traditions to ease the pagan conversion to Christianity. From there, all is history.
Today, we still have a great many holdovers from that pagan celebration. Coloring eggs, rabbits, Easter baskets and so much more have roots dating back beyond recorded history. Even in recorded history, some traditions have no clear beginning. Wearing your best clothes and hot cross buns, while seemingly obvious, have no clear start. We just know that this is what we do, and we do it happily.
Many things we take for granted can be traced back a very long time, and many of these things have no clear reason behind them. It’s tradition, and we hold to it! But that’s simply part of the joy that comes with the holiday. Where would we be if we didn’t have the children hunting down eggs, cleverly (and occasionally maliciously) hidden from sight? Where would we be if we didn’t have the chocolate rabbits and baskets full of shiny, fake grass? This is, after all, a celebration and a time for joy!
With the season of renewal, we also have a renewal of attitudes. The long, grim winter has ended and we can now enjoy the warmth and growth of Spring! The pagans definitely had one thing right: This is a good time to celebrate. Around the world many different cultures and countries have unique traditions too numerous to count, all in celebration of Spring’s arrival.
So go out and have a good time with your family! If you are the churchgoing type, enjoy your service! Hide the eggs stuffed with candy and doused with brilliant colors! And if a few of those eggs should mysteriously go missing, well, we won’t tell. ;)
11 Easter Tradition Origins: http://mentalfloss.com/article/94189/origins-11-easter-traditions
14 Easter Traditions from Around the World: https://www.womansday.com/life/travel-tips/g2175/easter-traditions/