Easter traditions and where they came from

Must See 18/04/2019

While the Easter holiday itself originates in Christianity, there are many traditions and symbols that we associate it with that have no basis in religion - you won't read about the Easter bunny in the bible. 

So where did the Easter bunny, Easter eggs and chocolate traditions all come from?

Well the exact origins of the Easter bunny are unknown, but rabbits, known to be prolific procreators, are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. You know the old saying "*procreate* like rabbits". According to some sources the story of the Easter bunny first arrived in the US in the 1700s, with German immigrants sharing their tradition of an egg-laying hare called 'Osterhase' or 'Oschter Haws'.

Children made nests in which the mythical creature could lay eggs, and the custom soon spread across the US with the fabled rabbit's offerings broadening to include other gifts and candy. Kids also often left out carrots as snacks for the bunny.

While Easter is a Christian holiday, Easter eggs are likely linked to pagan traditions. Eggs are a symbol of new life, and have been associated with pagan festivals celebrating spring. From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection. Decorating the eggs is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century, according to some sources. 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.

Chocolate eggs reportedly date back to early 19th century Europe. Originating from the tradition of egg-shaped gifts as a symbol of life, decorated artificial eggs started to be filled with candy and given to children. Then the egg itself became part of the candy, with chocolatiers developing techniques to craft chocolate into different shapes.

And Ouila! Easter as we know it was born.