So, this past winter I looked up the start of some of our most long-lasting Christmas traditions–namely, Santa Claus. And what I learned made me determined to revive the roots of the tradition, not abandon them altogether as I’d been tempted to do.
The Easter Bunny, on the other hand…I think I’m pulling the plug on him.
I actually made Xoe look up the history of the Easter Bunny last year and write a report on it for school, LOL. She was totally confused by what she found–or rather, by what it has to do with Jesus’s resurrection. Good question, my girl. Good question.
Easter is actually from the Roman goddess of spring, Estre. She was a magician, a trickster, and her most famous trick was when she turned a chicken into a rabbit–but which still laid eggs. The Easter egg, then, was an ancient memorial to this goddess and her magic. The egg laid by a rabbit. The Easter Bunny was the product of this magic. Easter, in ancient mythology, was the celebration of the arrival of spring.
It just so happens that the date coincides with the Jewish Passover, which is, of course, when Jesus was crucified and resurrected. And so, the traditions of the Romans merged with Christianity when it was brought to Rome. But unlike Santa Claus, this was no saint who gave selflessly in honor of Christ, and in whose name other gave so their gifts could be anonymous, as Jesus commanded. No, this is pure paganism.
Do I have a problem with searching for colorful plastic eggs? No, not really. It’s a scavenger hunt, which is totally fine. But I do wonder why we call it Easter instead of Resurrection Day. (Actually, my piano teacher growing up thoroughly objected to this and always, always called it Resurrection Day.) I do wonder why the Easter Bunny still shows up. I love celebrating the resurrection, and I’m happy to do it with food, with treats, with things that bring Joy–because it should bring joy!
But I’m all done with the word “Easter.” I’m all done with the traditions that have absolutely no tie to what I’m really celebrating. Resurrection Day, even more than Christmas (in my opinion, LOL), is the foundational day of my Christian faith. Without this day, my hope would be naught. Oh, Jesus still would have paid the price for my sin had He not risen–but if He had not defeated death, then I wouldn’t have hope in life eternal with Him.
This Sunday, my friends, is the anniversary of the absolute best day in human history. And I’m tired of calling it by something that cheapens it. This isn’t the day of spring, of the rebirth of the year, of magical bunnies who lay eggs. This is the day of Resurrection–of the rebirth of my soul. The day Jesus defeated sin and the grave.
Way better than a chicken-rabbit. Just sayin’.
Good post and good thoughts. Thank you for sharing the history behind it!
I am looking forward to the rest of Resurrection week's posts. 🙂
I didn't realize where the idea of "Easter" came from. I want to celebrate the day of Resurrection too because that's way better then any chicken-rabbit!