by Lisa Downs -

Where Do Easter Traditions Come From?

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Easter is all about hot cross buns, Easter Bunnies and chocolate - but where do these Easter Traditions come from?! Our Family Days Out blog fills you in as we discuss Easter Eggs, Easter Bunnies and the history of Easter Traditions!

Easter is nearly upon on and we know what that means: Easter Egg hunts, hiding Easter Bunnies and endless chocolate eggs lining the shelves. Yet, these traditions had to come from somewhere, so we shed light on the history of this spring-filled time of year!

Why do we celebrate Easter?

Before we look at the origins of Easter traditions, let's look at Easter itself. Why do we celebrate Easter in the first place? What does it mean and represent?

Well, simply put, Easter is a Christian festival that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. This was described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial following that infamous crucifixion by the Romans. 

Jesus was crucified on a Friday, and rose from the dead on Sunday.  It was actually because of this Sunday recurrection that Christian religion soon adopted Sunday as the day that communities would gather and pray. It wasn't until much later that the idea of Easter Sunday emerged. 

However, the word "Easter" actually doesen't have anything to do with Christianity.  The word "Easter" was derived from the word "Passover", after the name for an Anglo-Saxon goddeess Eostre who was celebrated in Spring. 

Image Credit: Public Domain

Why do we have Easter Eggs?

Well, the origins aren't actually known but the association of eggs with Easter is actually a very ancient tradition. Eggs are thought to be symbols of new life at springtime, and because Easter is the celebration of Jesus' spring resurrection, they are symbolic of a new life or fresh start that people can feel when they become Christian. 

It's also thought that because some early European churches apparently banned the consumption of eggs during lent, the following Easter weekend would result in quite a lot of eggs being eaten!

Image Credit: Public Domain

Where did the Easter Bunny come from?

Again, the origins are a bit murky! But it's thought that just like the word "Easter" from the goddeses Eostre, the Easter Bunny also came from this same goddeess who was the goddess of fertility and her symbol was a bunny - the symbol of reproduction (although the Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore states this isn't the case)

Another thought is that the bunny is a folkloric figure originating among German Lutherans, with the "Easter Hare" originally playing the role of a judge to decide if kids were good or bad before the Eastertide (much like the "naughty or nice" list that Santa has!)

It wasn't until the 18th century that an "egg giving Hare" found its way to the US thanks for Germany immigrants in the Pennsylvania Dutch area. It was deemed that only the good kids would find those colored eggs in nests or their bonnets!

Image Credit: Public Domain

Why do we eat chocolate at Easter?

Thanks to the popularity of the Easter Egg hunt (to find which children were good, of course) the hiding of colored eggs soon evolved into the edible kind within Europe, with France and Germany often given credit as being the pioneers of this delicious trend.  Then, as happens, corporations took note and saw an opportunity, and in the 1700s JS Fry & Sons became the very first UK based company to sell chocolate eggs over the Easter period and well, the rest is history!

Image Credit: Safety Pin Heart

Now kids, all you need to do now is find those hidden Easter Eggs and show your parents how good you are!

Happy Easter Everyone!

Lisa Downs Written by
Lisa Downs

Lisa has been a content writer for Family Days Out for nearly 10 years, and a keen travel writer for nearly 20. She loves experiencing the best of a city, discovering the many things to do and immersing herself in the culture, and sharing these experiences with others through her writing.

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