From food coloring to yard hunting … it’s all about that egg
Spring has arrived and you know what that means – the Easter bunny’s fuzzy little cotton ball tail is just around the corner. And while a basket of trinkets and candy may not be as memorable as a Christmas tree littered with presents, Easter has its own traditions that make it a bun-loved holiday (yeah, that was a bad pun). Sorry, it was so hare-able…
So as we prepare to bust out the pastels and gorge ourselves on cadbury eggs, let’s take a look at some of the most common and not-so-common Easter traditions and how they originated.
The Easter Bunny
We’re all aware of the bunny being as synonyms with Easter as Santa Claus is with Christmas. But where did the whole bunny bit originate. For that, we have to look back to the pagans. You see, pagans would celebrate the goddess of fertility, and her name was Eostre. And the rabbit was and is a sign of fertility. Fast forward several hundreds of years to the 1700s, and the German immigrants flocking to America brought with them an egg-laying hare legend called Osterhase. The rest is tradition.
Like Christmas morning, kids in April hop out of their beds on Easter and flock to find their Easter baskets filled with goodies. Remember the German Osterhase? Well, legend goes that children would fashion “nests” to leave out for the mythical bunny to stop by their house and deliver eggs. So while, the Easter egg-themed gift loot isn’t as impressive as the Christmas pull, digging through that faux green grass to find those smaller stocking-stuffer like gifts and candy covered delicacies is enough to make up for it. And it’s multi-purposeful, because that basket can be carried around the backyard to hunt for eggs. Speaking of ...
For kids and adults, the best part of Easter may be the egg hunt that follows morning brunch (and church service, for some). Armed with their baskets in hand, kids scour every inch of the yard in search for those colorful plastic eggs that were so strategically hidden by their parents. Each egg found is a triumph, but the real treasure lies within the egg. Candy and toys galore!
Nothing says good ol’ fashioned family Easter fun like egg dying. As a kid, playing with food coloring always felt like you were living on the edge. After all, one careless egg roll off the table and you could be staining mom’s carpet blue, red and green. Egg dying was a creative way to decorate a hardboiled white canvas. Whether it ever encouraged kids to eat their colorful creations for the extra protein boost … well, that’s debatable.
Hollow chocolate bunnies
Cadbury eggs are synonyms with Easter, but so are those large hollow chocolate bunnies. You know, the ones that you tried to bite the head off of as a kid. Seriously, don’t lie. You know you did. But did you ever ask why they were hollow? Turns out the company responsible for making them, R.M. Palmer company did it as a way to save children from chipping a tooth when biting into solid chocolate. Plus, a hollow chocolate bunny can be made bigger for cheaper. That’s just Easter economics right there.
While Easter is all about (green) eggs and hare (and apparently bad Dr. Suess puns), it’s also one of the biggest religious holidays outside of Christmas, marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians all around the world will head to early mass on Easter Sunday to celebrate Jesus rising from the dead, followed by a heavy influx in the brunch crowd.
Hot cross buns & ham
Certain foods are just prepared and eaten on specific holidays. Those are the rules. For Thanksgiving, it’s turkey and mashed potatoes. For Easter, it’s hot cross buns and ham. While the origin of hot cross buns is debatable, many believe that the sweet raisin rolls marked with a cross on top started in the 12th century with a monk who wanted a unique way to celebrate Good Friday. As for ham, we again turn to the pagans for answers. Dating back to 6th century Germany, hunters would hunt hogs in the fall and cure them throughout the winter. By the time spring bloomed, they were one of the only meats ready to eat.
Did you know, there are even more Easter traditions, like the whole notion to wear new clothes on Easter to symbolize rebirth and good luck, egg knocking competitions and flying Good Friday kites? Yep, Easter is full of traditions. Ones that you probably have quite the stockpile of old home videos and pictures commemorating. And if you do, it’s important to look back on those family memories by getting them digitized. That way you can show your kids and their kids’ kids what it was like the first time you saw the Easter Bunny and hunted for his eggs.