WITH Easter upon us, thoughts turn to chocolate eggs, hot cross buns and tales of the Easter bunny.
To mark the Christian festival, revellers are already stocking up on sweet treats and arranging Easter egg hunts. But what is the history of the tradition and why are bunnies and eggs so symbolic? Here’s the story…
Why do we buy Easter eggs?
During the Christian calendar event, it’s become customary to buy chocolate eggs.
The sweet treats have a hollow centre, which has become a symbol of Jesus’ empty tomb.
According to the Bible, the Son of God’s body was laid out in the tomb after crucifixion.
The scriptures state that when the stone covering the entrance was moved, the corpse was nowhere to be found and onlookers discovered that Jesus had risen.
This is another reason why eggs are a common part of the religious ritual, as they’re a sign of rebirth.
Why do we have the Easter bunny?
Bunnies are nowhere to be found in the Biblical scriptures, but this hasn’t stopped the cute creatures from becoming associated with the Christian festival.
Easter bunnies were incorporated into mainstream tradition in the 17th Century.
Early depictions from Germany showed the floppy-eared creatures delivering toys and eggs in baskets to Christian families.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of the rabbit symbol, but many scholars believe it stems from pagan ritual.
The pagan festival Eostre is dedicated to the goddess of fertility, who is often depicted as a rabbit.
As the term “to go at it like rabbits” suggests, the animals are often associated with fertility.
This ties in well with the Bible, as Easter celebrates the rebirth of Jesus following his crucifixion.
Why do we celebrate Easter and what’s the Biblical story?
Easter is a Christian tradition that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus and marks the end of Lent.
Those who follow the Bible believe that Christ was crucified at Calvary on Good Friday.
Accounts of the Gospel state that the son of God was betrayed by Judas, before he was sentenced to death.
After the crucifixion, the scriptures say that Jesus’ body was taken from the cross and placed in a tomb guarded by Roman soldiers.
Three days later, Mary Magdalene, followed by some of Jesus’ disciples, discovered that Christ’s body had disappeared.
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His followers believed that the Son of God was resurrected on this day, which has become known as Easter Sunday.
Easter falls on different dates annually, ranging between 21 March and 25 April depending on lunar patterns.
In 2019 Easter falls on April 21, meaning Good Friday is the 19th and Easter Monday is the 22nd.