Easter History and Reflections

Like many of the nationally recognized holidays, Easter has many origins. Knowing all of them can add to your appreciation of the holiday and enhance your plans for the day. In Christian traditions, Easter is the celebration of Jesus Christ rising from his death on the crucifix. The day is also known as Resurrection Sunday to many. Jesus was believed to have risen from the dead and emerged from a tomb the third day after being crucified. The Easter traditions and symbols we know today come from several parts of Jesus’ story and era, but one that stands out most is the story of Mary Magdalene and the red egg. After Mary, a follower of Jesus with many reputations lacking evidence, discovered that Jesus rose from the dead, she brought a plain white egg to an emperor and told him. The emperor laughed at Mary and told her the egg she held would more likely turn red than Jesus rising from the dead, and just then, the egg turned red!

Pagan traditions support some of the same symbols. The Pagan fertility and Spring goddess, Eostre, saved a bird during the winter one cold day by turning him into a bunny rabbit that would warm him with its fur. The bunny continued to lay bird eggs, however. As a ‘Thank You’ to the goddess, the bunny rabbit pointed to the eggs and turned them into decorative Easter eggs for her to enjoy.

Because the holiday involved some dark themes such as death and rebirthing, it’s believed that people evolved the holiday to involve pastel colors, and cuddly animals to lighten it up for the children. Today, children enjoy Easter egg hunting and spoon races.

Not Just For Children

Some of the most fun games and traditions involve adults. One of the most entertaining of the games is when couples are paired together on teams and have to toss an egg back and forth to each other, taking a few steps back each time, and keeping the egg unharmed. Eggs are surprisingly durable, which games often make center-stage. In parts of Germany, egg throwing is a favorite tradition, where grown ups and children alike throw Easter eggs into a field as far as they can until the egg cracks. Those who’ve tried it say you’d be surprised how much of a beating the egg can take!

Least Favorite Past Time of Easter

The least favorite past time of Easter, at least for children, is probably for Catholics who hold Easter Vigil, a 3 hour long or longer mass service. The length of mass, however, can be overshadowed by cute Easter outfits that children especially remember wearing. For many, Easter is remembered as a good time to reflect and recenter in your spirituality and relationship to the universe, even children can have a good sense of spirituality and a surprising maturity about it in general and around the Easter holiday.

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