Spring has sprung: The unknown origins of beloved Easter traditions

Peyton Lewis, ‘23 Feature Editor

Easter is one of the biggest holidays during the spring season. It is typically represented by candy, rabbits, egg hunts, Easter baskets, and the Easter Bunny himself. However, Easter was originally a Christian holiday.  So, how did a holiday with biblical origins evolve into the commercialized event we know and love today?

The Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny has become the symbol of Easter in America. Tradition says that he will visit children’s houses and leave gifts on Easter Sunday, but the Bible has no mention of this loveable, gift-giving rabbit.  The Easter Bunny comes from the early 1700’s when the German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania spread their traditions of an egg-laying hare called Osterhase. German children would make nests where the hare could lay its eggs. The tradition eventually spread across America with eggs being replaced with chocolate and other candies, and nests being replaced with baskets. The practice has come a long way since it was first introduced, but Easter would not be the same without it.

Dyeing Easter Eggs

Another widely popular Easter symbol is the Easter egg. Many children (and adults) enjoy coloring hard boiled eggs in bright spring colors. There are many theories as to where the beloved Easter egg comes from. The eggs are most likely linked to the Pagan religion, which is a religion that originated in the Middle Ages. It is often associated with Pagan festivals in the spring as eggs are a symbol of new life. For Christians, the eggs are meant to represent Jesus’s emergence from his tomb. As to where the idea of coloring came from, an article from History.com, said, “One explanation for this custom is that eggs were formerly a forbidden food during the Lenten season, so people would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting, then eat them on Easter as a celebration.” While most people who celebrate Easter nowadays do not participate in fasting, dyeing Easter eggs is still a highly celebrated tradition.

Chocolate Eggs

One of the most popular Easter candies is chocolate eggs. The first chocolate egg was created in the early 19th century in Germany and France. However, it was not the same egg known and loved today as the chocolate was difficult to mold. The Chocolate Trading Company, a luxury chocolate brand said that the creation of the eggs we know today is possible because of the “invention of a press for separating cocoa butter from the cocoa bean by the Dutch inventor Van Houten in 1828 and the introduction of a pure cocoa by Cadbury Brothers in 1866.” We can thank advancements in technologies for the delicious chocolate egg most popular today.

The original celebrations of Easter may not have included large magical rabbits or colorful eggs, the holiday has progressed to a memorable holiday filled with fun traditions for all.

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