A Little Bit of Easter History | Guest Post

40 Days of Easter | Day 2

My father-in-law, George Calhoun, is a pastor at Milton SDB church in Milton, WI.  He’s my go-to for all sorts of Bible and faith questions simply because he is so knowledgable.  I love his faith and his Biblical knowledge and wisdom.  I thought perhaps I should share a little with you 🙂 Papa Calhoun wrote this response below to my blog post yesterday How did Easter Become About Eggs and Bunnies? I thought it was awesome so I asked him if I could post what he wrote for a guest blog post today.

A Little Bit of Easter History

by Pastor George Calhoun

Quite a few pagan cultures hold celebrations in the spring. It’s the time of year when plants return to life after being dormant all winter and when animals mate and procreate. These festivities celebrate the renewal of life and promote the fertility of crops, animals, and even people, which was important in these agrarian communities. The Saxons believed in a maiden goddess of fertility named Eastre or Eostre (Oestre in Latin) and honored her with a spring festival. Hares and rabbits were considered sacred to Eastre because they are notoriously fertile animals. 

In the second century A.D., Christian missionaries tried to convert northern European tribes. To help make Christianity attractive, the missionaries turned pagan festivals into Christian holidays. The pagan Eastre festival occurred around the same time as the Christian celebration marking Christ’s resurrection so the two celebrations blended into one, rabbit and all. Over time, Eastre became Easter, and the symbolism changed as well.

How did Easter Become About Eggs and Bunnies?

40 Days of Easter | Day 1

Today is the first day of lent.  This Lenten season I am committed to blogging daily about Easter.  This idea came around Christmas when I was doing 12 Days of Handmade and Homemade Christmas.

I love Christmas.  I love the love, joy and hope that comes from the greatest gift born to us that day, Christ.  I love the spirit of kindness and gift-giving that I see all around me because of that.

Christmas marks the birth of Christ.  Easter marks the death and resurrection of Christ.  Our salvation.

To me, Easter seems like it should be more important than our culture cares to make it.  Instead of Easter bringing the highest level of joy and hope anyone could possibly experience while dwelling in the truth of our salvation we are actually merely celebrating an ode to the coming of spring by saturating this holiday with bunnies and eggs.

I want to bring Easter alive and, if not for anyone else, wrap my heart around the gift I was given 2013 years ago.

So, today is day one of prepping my heart for the Easter celebration of our risen savior.  I thought the best place to start would be to educate myself and my readers on the origins of the bunnies and the eggs so we can move past that 🙂

How did Easter Become About Eggs and Bunnies?

Today, on Easter Sunday, many families wake up to Easter egg hunts and Easter baskets brought by the Easter bunny.  Kids run around the house hunting for eggs and munching on candy.

Hares and rabbits historically are a symbol of fertility because they reproduce like crazy.  You know, the whole “making love like rabbits” idea still persists 😉  Because of their symbol of fertility they naturally became the symbol of new life in the spring celebrations.

The Easter egg hunt began because children believed hares laid eggs in the grass.  This idea comes from historic Rome because they believed “All life comes from an egg.”

The origin of dying or coloring eggs is unclear but in ancient Persia, Greece, Rome, and Egypt they colored eggs as a part of their spring festivals.  And in medieval Europe colored eggs were given as gifts.

See ya tomorrow for more!

Kaia Calhoun