Easter is a Christian holiday that celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Its conception as a holy celebration goes all the way back to the second century. Easter has also had its non-religious side, with itâ€™s celebration originally being a pagan festival.
The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with an uproarious festival commemorating their goddess of offspring and of springtime, Eastre. Second-century Christian missionaries encountered the tribes with this pagan celebration; and they attempted to convert them to Christianity by cleverly by altering the festival itself, to make it a Christian celebration as it coincided with the resurrection of Christ. The early name was eventually changed toâ€™ Easterâ€™.
The Easter Bunny is not a modern invention. The symbol originated with the pagan festival, where the goddess was worshipped through the rabbit, her earthly symbol. It was the Germans who brought the symbol of the Easter rabbit to America.
The Easter Egg also predates the Christian holiday of Easter. The exchange of eggs in the springtime is a custom that was centuries old when Easter was first celebrated by Christians.
In the early times, the egg was recognized as a symbol of rebirth in most cultures. Eggs were often wrapped in gold leaves or, if you were a peasant, colored brightly by boiling them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers. The Egyptians called the act of painting â€œPysanka,â€ and regarded it as a sacred token of the renovation of mankind after the Flood.
In medieval times a festival of egg throwing was held in church. In this observance, a priest would throw a hard-boiled egg to one of the choirboys, starting a game of â€œhot potato.â€ In medieval times a festival of egg throwing was held in church, during which the priest would throw a hard-boiled egg to one of the choirboys. It was then tossed from one choirboy to the next and whoever held the egg when the clock struck 12 was the winner and retained the egg. When the clock struck 12:00, the choirboy holding the egg was declared the winner and got to keep the egg.
Present day observances of Easter are traditionally marked with attendance of Easter Sunday Church services. Traditionally, churchgoers wear new clothing to the service, with bonnets being customary for girls. Easter Bonnets can be traced back to the days when the people denied themselves the pleasure of wearing finery for the duration of Lent. Easter is known by most children for egg hunts and the Easter bunny bringing candy and sweets in a basket. The first Easter baskets were fashioned to look like bird’s nests. In the United States, Easter is celebrated with a large Easter Egg Hunt for children on the White House Lawn. Largely plastic eggs with goodies inside are and hidden and children hunt for them. Hard-boiling and coloring eggs at home is also a family tradition at Easter. And finally, Easter usually wraps up with a large family meal, similar to that at Thanksgiving, but usually with ham being the center point instead of turkey.