5 Easter Traditions Explained
Easter conjures images of flowers, eggs, baby chicks, lambs, and, of course, bunnies. These same motifs are often used to welcome the season of spring; this isn’t a mere coincidence. Most people understand Easter as a religious holiday. However, as time went on, Easter melded with other traditions, particularly those associated with welcoming springtime.
In more recent times, traditions are even attributed to good marketing. As a result, Easter, as we celebrate it today, is a melting pot of customs stemming from ancient Pagan traditions up until the 20th century. Here are the origins of some well-known Easter traditions.
1. Why the Easter Bunny?
For most of history, rabbits have represented fertility and rebirth, themes aligned with the Pagan celebration of spring. When early Christians began spreading their religion, they viewed the spring celebration as an opportunity to promote Easter, a day of celebrating resurrection.
Taking the concept a step further, some historians link the name “Easter” to the Pagan goddess of spring and fertility, Eostre. Folklore claims Eostre found a bird sick from the cold. She turned it into a rabbit, trading the feathers for warm, soft fur. Another version claims Eostre did more with the animal than just transform it. Regardless, bunnies earned the symbol for fertility and gained association with Easter.
2. Chocolate, Chocolate and More Chocolate
Chocolate gained momentum after the exploration boom in the 1600s. By the 1700s chocolate houses were a popular sight in Europe and chocolatiers in France and Germany were perfecting their techniques. Children were told to make nests in baskets or hats for the Easter Bunny to leave chocolate eggs.
The popular treat was even more beloved on Easter, as most Christians abstained from chocolate and other treats during Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter. Easter Sunday served as a celebration for breaking those sugar sacrifices. Interestingly, a few other Easter traditions stem from awaiting the conclusion of Lent sacrifices.
3. How do you take your eggs?
As with chocolate, many Christians also gave up eggs during Lent. However, rather than waste the eggs, people preserved them. It was only a matter of time before they were dyed. The custom stemmed from religious symbolism and high-status gifts. Ornately decorated eggs were popular gifts among the upper classes especially in Eastern Europe, where the craft of detailed egg decorating is still popular today.
4. Jelly Beans or Mini-Eggs?
Jelly beans have been around since the 1860s, but didn’t earn their rightful place in Easter baskets until the 1930s, when candy merchants promoted the beans as resembling colorful Easter eggs. Who would’ve thought some careful marketing would create a sweet tradition?
5. Baskets for All the Eggs, Chocolate and Jelly Beans
Stemming again from the tradition of fasting, Christians filled their baskets with the Easter feast fixings, then brought the filled baskets to Mass for blessings. Today, Easter baskets filled with candy are given to children and used to gather colorful eggs during egg hunts.
Easter is truly a celebration of many beloved traditions. Come and start a new family tradition with us at the Isle® for a celebratory Easter Brunch. It’s on Sunday, March 27 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., so you can even sleep in late.
The Farmer’s Pick Buffet® is a stress-free way for families to spend time together while enjoying delicious food. For only $19.99* per person, with children at a discounted rate, you won’t break the bank. Indulge in brunch classics like prime rib, freshly prepared omelets and even a crepe station! All you have to do is show up — we’ll take care of the rest.
*Tax and gratuity not included.