Easter Sunday is the most important day in the Christian calendar as it marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This year it takes place on April 4th, 2021. During this time of year rabbits pop up and hot cross buns appear – but why have they become such staples for the holiday? We’re going to explore how Easter symbols came to be.
Let’s start with a popular one: Easter eggs. There is no set reason why eggs began to be associated with Easter, however for lots of cultures around the world eggs symbolise fertility and new life. Eggs were also highly prized, partially because hens did not lay eggs over the winter as there wasn’t enough sunlight. When they started to lay eggs in the spring, they were highly sought after. In comparison, these days chocolate Easter eggs are much more of a treat.
There is also the symbolism of the Easter Bunny and rabbits in general popping up a lot. Why? Rabbits have a reputation for breeding quickly and spring is when they start to give birth. So naturally, they started to be associated with this time of year and new life. There’s also an old German tale of a poor woman who hid brightly-painted eggs in her garden for children to find. During their hunt, a child saw a hare hop by and believed it had hidden the eggs.
Hot Cross Buns
Once you see a hot cross bun in a supermarket, you know Easter is around the corner. Lots of people will eat hot cross buns on Good Friday, to mark the end of Lent. They have come to be associated with Jesus’s crucifixion due to the cross on the top. However, the history of hot cross buns stretched back even further than that. They are believed to have Pagan roots; it is thought a similar baked good was eaten to honour the goddess Eostre.
In primary school did you take part in an Easter bonnet parade? It is a fun tradition of decorating a hat with all things Easter and spring-related: flowers, eggs, rabbits. Easter Bonnets stems back to Christianity, as the end of Lent was a time of renewal and churchgoers were keen to show off their new clothes. Particularly the women and their hats.
Have a think about how you want to celebrate Easter this year, as there are so many Easter traditions and people across the globe ultimately mark the holiday in so many different shapes and forms.