The Egg, the Hare, and the History

The Incredible Edible Egg

I think most religions would admit that the Easter Bunny and his eggs are not mentioned in a holy book. Yet, somehow over the years, they are more widely recognized as Easter symbols than the cross.

Eggs have always been recognized as sacred objects throughout the ages. Egyptians, Persians, Gaels, Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Christians have placed importance eggs.

Some of these cultures believed that the egg was the symbol of the universe created by the supreme beings, and some myths would have us believe heaven and earth came from and egg. Way, they are either a sacred symbol or creation. Eggs were forbidden during Lent, and came to represent new life and resurrection. Eggs in the Jewish culture symbolize the departure from Egypt.

Because eggs are “dormant” during the incubation process, this came to parallel the store of the resurrection of Christ from the tomb. (In many ways, this is why bulb flowers play a vital role with the Easter/Spring season. Bulbs are “dead” and return to life each spring, reminding us winter is gone and spring is has arrived.) 

While PAAS is now a player in decorating for Easter, once upon a time, eggs were covered with gold, or red –symbolizing the blood of Christ for Christians and as a celebration of life in the Chinese cultre.

Show me the Bunny

While the hare/rabbit/bunny has never been a religious symbol, its white meat represents purity. There were no rabbits in the Holy Land, but hares were in Palestine more than 1900 years ago. The most common suggestion for its use for its use during the Easter season stems from the fact that the rabbits emerge from their earthly tomb, just as Christ emerged from the tomb.

Knowing the history of symbols and traditions during holidays enhances our understanding of holidays and respect people’s religious beliefs.

Adapted from “Origins of Easter Symbols” by Ty Leslie, AIFD, PFCI

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