Monday, April 13, 2009

The Hunt for Easter

Have you ever wondered where the tradition of hunting for colorful little plastic eggs filled with candy came from?  Sophie's preschool had an "Easter" egg hunt a couple of weeks ago and it really got me thinking this year.  Here are some pics from the event...

Sophie had fun collecting eggs, but something was bothering me.  I began to feel uneasy as images of the "Easter" bunny, the baskets, the candy, those little plastic eggs, the home decor, and aisles of pastel overloaded my brain when I went to the grocery store.  When and why did Easter turn into such a huge commercial distraction from the real reason we celebrate? Isn't Easter supposed to be about Jesus?  Easter is a Christian holiday to celebrate Jesus' resurrection.  What was I teaching my children?  Clint and I started having some discussions about it and doing some research and I learned some very eye-opening things.  

The "Easter Bunny" can be traced back to the German fertility goddess, Eostre.  Hares (or rabbits) were given to Eostre as a form of worship and were considered a sacred animal due to their ability to reproduce multiple litters each year.  The spring, fertility goddess and the hares share a strong connection that dates back to the 1600s.  In the practice of paganism, eggs were an obvious symbol of fertility.  It was believed that during springtime (around March) the "Easter rabbit" who was a legendary producer of "Easter eggs" was also a symbol of fertility and new life.  Children used to make little nests for the "Easter bunny" to come lay eggs in and this brought good luck.  This folklore and mythology has been passed down from generation to generation taking shape as different traditions within each culture and area of the world.  But in the end, they are just silly stories about some bunny that lays eggs and the worship of a goddess that brings forth new life.  I only know of one God that brings new life.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" -2 Corinthians 5:17.

While intended to be harmless fun for the kids, I think next year we will have to pass on all the "colorful" traditions of eggs and bunnies so we can just focus on the reason we truly celebrate Easter - the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

"He is not here; He has risen!" - Matthew 28:6, Luke 24:6  

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