If you’ve stepped into a retail store sometime in the past few weeks, you know that rabbits, pastel-colored boxes and candy of all shapes and sizes have recently taken up residence in the seasonal aisle. We know that Easter is traditionally known as a religious holiday, have you ever wondered where these symbols got their origin?
We did, too, and after a bit of research, we think we found the answers!
Believe it or not, these characters are said to pre-date Christianity. The origin of the word, “Easter”’ stems from Eostre, the Germanic goddess of spring. Each year, on or around the 21st of March, the Celtic people would celebrate Ostara. Although it sounds like a holiday, it was seen as an opportunity to be in tune with the changing of the seasons.
Because the Spring Equinox is known as a time of rebirth, it has strong ties to fertility and sowing seeds. The symbol of the rabbit first appeared during medieval times in Europe. Hares had been known to be nocturnal most of the year, but in March when the mating season began, bunnies could be seen everywhere. In no time at all, the hare became known as a major symbol of fertility.
As for chocolate and candy, you will not be surprised to learn that we could find evidence of existence during the original Celtic celebrations. We can likely assume the abundance of candy can be rooted back to Catholic traditions. Christians typically sacrifice items they enjoy during the Lenten season such as rich food items like meat, soda or candy. On Easter Sunday, we celebrate the end of Lent by indulging in sweets.
There you have it – some of the best-known origins of Easter. What is your favorite symbol of Easter/Spring Equinox?
It indeed is a remarkable time of the year. After a long winter season, it’s amazing to see our beautiful land coming back to life. We hope you have a chance to take a moment to appreciate spring’s arrival as you celebrate with your family this weekend.
Happy Easter from Lions Pride!