Learn about the history of the Easter Egg hunt, the Christian symbols of Easter, and impress your friends with Easter history and facts!
Many of us grew up with the Easter Bunny and egg hunts, and when you grow up with a certain tradition, you don’t necessarily stop and wonder where they come from. Have you ever stopped to wonder what an anthropomorphized rabbit has to do with the Christian celebration of Jesus’ resurrection? Do painted eggs have anything to do with church or Passover?
As it turns out, there is a lot of pagan history in Easter. The celebration of Easter as we know it today picked up many pagan traditions in its formation. It replaced older holidays in both date and theme to cover up the Christian celebration when the religion was new and its followers were persecuted and killed. Even the name, Easter, comes from a pagan goddess – the Anglo-Saxon deity Eostre, who was a representation of the moon and the fertility of spring. Her symbol was – you guessed it – a hare, from which the tradition of the Easter Bunny is derived.
So how did Easter become established when Christianity was outlawed for so long? Constantine, who became the Emperor of the Roman Empire in 312 A.D., was battling his rival for the throne Maxentius, when he saw a cross in the sky with the words “in this sign thou shalt conquer.” With this vision, he became sympathetic to the Christian plight, and gave credit for his victories to the Christian god. For the first time, Christians were given the right to congregate, practice their faith in public, and govern their religion. The first action was to call the Council of Nicaea, which laid down the basic rules of the faith. With the second council, called 300 years later, they settled the debate of when Easter would be celebrated, and it was decided the Sunday immediately following Passover was the best possible
Want to know more about the origins of Easter traditions and how Easter is celebrated around the world? Check out You Can Learn, Inc.’s app on the History of Easter (suitable for ages 8 and up).