The profusion of Sunday bunnies and chocolate eggs each year can seem very confusing to those looking to find out about the history of Easter. If you look beyond the cuddly toys and confections, you will see that it is in fact a religious holiday that is celebrated the world over, albeit in different ways in other parts of the world. In 2014, Easter is celebrated on Sunday, April 20.
The religious meanings of Easter really truly depend upon which faith you follow. But it is by digging deep into some of them that we find many of the traditions we observe on Easter in modern times. If, for example, you look to the Pagan influences found in the Easter holiday, you will see that they saw that time of the year as the Spring Equinox, which essentially spelled the end of winter and the beginning of a new life.
It is here where the bunny connection can be found, as rabbits were frequently used in Pagan celebrations of the Spring Equinox. This was because their goddess, Eostre, was symbolized by a rabbit. It was the perfect animal to symbolize the fertility that comes with the new life Pagans found each spring. They essentially viewed bunnies, that are most fertile during this period, to be the sign that the Spring Equinox was in full swing.
Most of us, though, are more familiar with the Christian view and how they interpret the history of Easter. Essentially, Christians celebrate Easter as the day in which Jesus Christ was resurrected. What we celebrate as Good Friday today was the day in which Jesus was crucified, with his resurrection coming three days later on what is now Easter Sunday. For Christians, this is one of the most important events in their history.
While you would think that an event of this magnitude would have a specific date attached, Easter Sunday is different every year. That said, there is no randomness to the date, and there is in fact a calculation used to decide which Sunday that Easter will land on. The lunisolar calendar is used to arrive at the date, with the phase of the moon and the time in the solar year taken into consideration. While the dates are different every year, they do always fall in between March 22nd and April 25th.
While religion is very much at the heart of Easter celebrations the world over, there are some that remove the religious connections and use it instead as a celebration of the start of spring. It is for this reason that those not attached to any specific religion will still take part in events to celebrate this special day.
What Easter means to you, as well as the history of it, will very much likely depend on what your religious and personal beliefs are. Christians and Pagans will most likely get the most out of the celebrations that are in place, but the nature of the Easter holidays are such that anyone of any faith or belief system can happily take part.
Rumor Has It …
… that Esther the Bunny as actually the first Easter Bunny of record and that she recorded a record of accord (and was not bored), with developing a type of music called hip-hop.