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Bunny Postcard 1907

Easter, which celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, is Christianity’s most important holiday. It is called a moveable feast because it doesn’t fall on a set date every year as most holidays do. Instead, Christian churches in the West celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21. Therefore, Easter is observed anywhere between March 22 and April 25 every year

The exact origin of the word Easter is unknown. The English historian known as the Venerable Bede (673-735) wrote that the word Easter is derived from Eostre, a Teutonic goddess of Spring and fertility. Through a translation error, the term later appeared as esostarum in Old High German, which eventually became Easter in English. In Spanish, Easter is known as Pascua; in French, Paques. These words are derived from the Greek and Latin Pascha or Pasch, for Passover. Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection occurred after he went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover (or Pesach in Hebrew), the Jewish festival commemorating the ancient Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt.

Around the second century A.D., Christian missionaries seeking to convert the tribes of northern Europe noticed that the Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus roughly coincided with the Teutonic springtime celebrations, which emphasized the triumph of life over death. Christian Easter gradually absorbed the tribes’ pagan symbols as a conversion tactic.

 Easter Symbols:

 Easter Eggs

The Easter eggs represent the beginning of a new life. Eggs became a symbol of the advent of Spring, which brought with it new life for flora and fauna. Easter eggs were first colored by the pagans to resemble the rising sun and to announce the return of light.  Later, an ancient Christian legend spoke of Mary giving the eggs to Roman soldiers and begging them not to kill her son. Subsequently, Easter eggs became a popular gift to give on Easter to bring luck and welfare to the family.

In Medieval Europe, eggs were forbidden during Lent. Eggs laid during that time were often boiled or otherwise preserved (pickled eggs anyone?) Eggs were prized Easter gifts for servants; I am sure because eggs were plentiful after Lent, they could be given out to servants as “gifts of food”.

 Easter Bunny & Chicks

Rabbits and chicks represent the rebirth of Earth. Spring is a time when the Earth is literally reborn. Barren fields become lush green, trees seem to come back to life with new foliage and flowers and fruits abound.

The Easter bunny is the most beloved symbol of Easter and is extremely popular with children; however history indicates that it may have been the hare and not the rabbit that was associated with early Easter traditions. The hare is legendary because it is believed to never close its eyes, not even to blink. Hares were thought to be staring at the full moon all through the night. The hare was also a symbol of fertility, linked to the Greek goddess of fertility. Eostre.

Easter/Peace Lily 

The white lily is thought to be as pure as Christ, and a symbol of the purity of the new life that comes from the resurrection. Here in the West we call these Peace Lilies because, let’s be honest, the name “Resurrection Lily” would only sell to a certain market share.

Whether you celebrate Easter or not, I wish you all a wonderful weekend. Happy Spring!!