Saturday, April 03, 2010

What Does The Easter Bunny Have To Do With Easter... Or With Jesus?

That's a Very Good Question...

And, The Answer?

Well... Nothing, Actually. It Has Absolutely Nothing To Do With The Man, His Death Nor Anything Related To Him.

Like All Significant Holidays Observed In Modern Times By Those Who Follow Organized Religions, Easter And It's Associated Symbols All Originated In The Beliefs, Rituals and Practices Of Pre-Christian Pagan Societies.

When you're traveling the world, exploring strange, new places, meeting unusual and much older civilizations than your own... who don't happen to share your beliefs (Heathens!) and doing a massive "Convert Or Die" Campaign...

Well, it's simply a matter of practicality, really.

It's so much easier to indoctrinate people whom you've conquered and to convince them to toss out their ancient beliefs/deities/holidays and replace them with your own religious party-line when you assimilate some of the traditions with which they are familiar, cherish and are comfortable with into the stew.

It helps the medicine... or, in this case, the mythology... to go down easier.

Here's a brief, light-hearted and informative article that I just came across on the pre-Christian/Pagan origins of Easter and it's associated symbols.

I hope you enjoy it!

And, Happy Vernal Equinox!



Analysis by Lauren Effron Fri Apr 2, 2010 07:59 AM ET

What Does the Easter Bunny Have To Do With Easter?

There's no story in the Bible about a long-eared, cotton-tailed creature known as the Easter Bunny. Neither is there a passage about young children painting eggs or hunting for baskets overflowing with scrumptious Easter goodies.

And real rabbits certainly don't lay eggs.

So why are these traditions so ingrained in Easter Sunday? And what do they have to do with the resurrection of Jesus?

Well, nothing.

Bunnies, eggs, Easter gifts and fluffy, yellow chicks in gardening hats all stem from pagan roots. They were incorporated into the celebration of Easter separately from the Christian tradition of honoring the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

According to University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture, the origin of the celebration -- and the Easter bunny -- can be traced back to 13th century, pre-Christian Germany, when people worshiped several gods and goddesses. The Teutonic deity Eostra was the goddess of spring and fertility, and feasts were held in her honor on the Vernal Equinox. Her symbol was the rabbit because of the animal’s high reproduction rate.

Spring also symbolized new life and rebirth; eggs were an ancient symbol of fertility. According to, Easter eggs represent Jesus' resurrection. However, this association came much later when Roman Catholicism became the dominant religion in Germany in the 15th century and merged with already ingrained pagan beliefs.

The first Easter bunny legend was documented in the 1500s. By 1680, the first story about a rabbit laying eggs and hiding them in a garden was published. These legends were brought to the United States in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country, according to the Center for Children's Literature and Culture.

The tradition of making nests for the rabbit to lay its eggs in soon followed. Eventually, nests became decorated baskets and colorful eggs were swapped for candy, treats and other small gifts.

So while you're scarfing down chocolate bunnies (hey, I hear chocolate is good for you!) and marshmallow chicks this Easter Sunday, think fondly of this holiday's origins and maybe even impress your friends at your local Easter egg hunt.

Happy Easter!

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