Easter Sunday or also known as the celebration of Easter in the US is an ancestral tradition that has been adapted to different times and cultures, but over the years they have maintained symbols such as the egg and the rabbit.
For Christians, Easter Sunday celebrates the resurrection of Christ, who died on the cross to save the world from sin, while for those who profess other religions recognize this day as the feast of Easter, which comes from the name of the goddess.
Of spring in the Middle Ages. This pagan goddess was known in ancient times also as the goddess of fertility. Easter follows a fasting period called Lent, in which many churches set aside time for repentance and remembrance. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ crucifixion. The 40-day period was established by Pope Gregory 1 using the 40-day pattern of the time of Israel, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus in the wilderness.
The week before Easter is called Holy Week or “Passion Week,” and includes Palm Sunday (the day Jesus entered Jerusalem and was celebrated), Holy Thursday (the “Last Supper,” where Jesus met with his disciples to celebrate Easter.) and Good Friday (when Jesus would be crucified on the cross).
Easter is a very significant date within Christianity and is the foundation of the Christian faith. Jesus, the Son of God, fulfilled prophecy and, through his death, has given the gift of eternal life in heaven to those who believe in his death and resurrection.
The origin of the word Easter is not certain. The Venerable Bede, an 8th century monk and scholar, suggested that the word may have come from the Anglo-Saxon Eeostre or Eastre, a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility. Recent scholars have been unable to find any reference to the goddess Bede mentioned and consider the theory discredited.
Another possibility is the Norse eostur, eastur or ostara, which means “the season of the rising sun” or “the season of the new birth.” The word east comes from the same roots. In this case, Easter would be linked to the change of season.
A more recent and complex explanation comes from the Christian background of Passover rather than the pagan. The early Latin name for Easter week was hebdomada alba or “white week,” while the Sunday after Easter day was called dominica in albis after the white robes of the newly baptized. The word alba is Latin for both white and dawn. Old High German speakers made a mistake in their translation and used a plural word for dawn, ostarun, instead of a plural for white. From ostarun we get the German Ostern and the English Easter.
There are many traditions that surround the entire season of Lent, Holy Week, and Easter Sunday. Traditions generally observed around the world include the Easter bunny, colored eggs, gift baskets, and flowers.
There are several reasons why the rabbit, or hare, is associated with Easter, all of which stem from pagan celebrations or beliefs. The most obvious is the fertility of the hare. Easter arrives during the spring and celebrates a new life. The Christian meaning of new life through Christ and the general emphasis on new life are different, but the two gradually merged. Any animal, such as the hare, that produced many young was easy to include.
The hare is also an ancient symbol of the moon. The date of Easter depends on the moon. This may have helped the hare become absorbed in the Easter celebrations.
The hare or rabbit hole aided in the adoption of the animal as part of Easter celebrations. Believers saw the rabbit emerging from its underground home as a symbol of Jesus rising from the grave. Perhaps this was another case of taking a pre-existing symbol and giving it a Christian meaning.
The Easter hare came to the United States with German immigrants, and the role of the hare passed to the common American rabbit. Originally, children made nests for rabbits in fancy paper hats, caps or boxes, rather than the baskets of today. Once the children finished their nests, they put them in a secluded spot to avoid scaring off the shy rabbit. The attractive nests filled with colored eggs probably helped spread the customs.
Back in southern Germany, the first pastry and sweet Easter bunnies became popular in the early 1800s. This custom also crossed the Atlantic, and children still eat sweet rabbits, especially chocolate ones, at Easter.
If we go back to the heyday of cultures such as the Egyptian, Phoenician and Persian, where it was believed that the world was born from an egg, it can also be understood why this food has become a symbol of life and one of the protagonists of pagan celebrations for the arrival of spring. Until that moment, the egg alluded to the rebirth of the Earth.
With the arrival of Christianity the egg was given a new meaning in reference to the resurrection of Christ, even the Orthodox used to dye the eggs red in representation of the bloodshed on the cross.
Even, according to a History Channel documentary about Mary Magdalene, he says that when he went to give the news to the emperor of Rome of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, he mocked him and said that “yes, of course, this egg that I have on the table is red. ” And immediately the egg changed color to bloodred.
And in this whole story how the rabbit fits. In the same way, this unique character adopts several meanings, on the one hand, that of fertility and on the other, that also tells the story that there was a rabbit that stood at the foot of the tomb of Jesus Christ that when witnessing his resurrection his happiness was so great that at Not being able to speak, he went out to distribute eggs everywhere, which now represents a gift of life, prosperity and happiness for the families.
History and anecdotes could continue to try to explain the origin of this unique celebration that takes place on Easter Sunday, so the best we can do is maintain the tradition.
Some will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, others the arrival of spring and the abundance of the Earth, but all and especially the children will go out with their baskets to collect colored eggs to give thanks for a full life that is finally the product of a divine creation that is one God.
Good day, Happy Easter