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Rabbits and Eggs


Rabbits and Eggs



Two very important and playful symbols of Easter are the Easter bunny and decorated eggs.

“The Easter Bunny (also called the Easter Rabbit or Easter Hare) is a folkloric figure and symbol of Easter that brings Easter eggs for the well-behaved children. Originating among German Lutherans, the "Easter Hare" originally played the role of a judge, evaluating whether children were good or disobedient in behavior at the start of the season of Eastertide, similar to the "naughty or nice" list made by Santa Claus. As part of the legend, the creature carries colored eggs in its basket, as well as candy, and sometimes toys, to the homes of children.” (Wikipedia)
Although bunnies are the most popular Easter gift givers, other cultures have different characters. For example:
  • In Lithuania Easter Granny delivers eggs and treats for children.
  • In Sweden and in Finland children dressed as witches go door to door, distributing greetings and often receiving treats in return.
  • In France church bells fly to Rome on Good Friday. There they are blessed, and return on Easter Sunday loaded with chocolate eggs and other sweets. On their way back, they drop the treats over the cities and villages in France for the children to find.
  • In Australia - small native marsupial - Easter Bilby is the one who takes care of the handing out the gifts.

The egg is an ancient symbol of new life and rebirth. In Christianity it became associated with Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. In the Orthodox tradition eggs are painted red to symbolize the blood Jesus shed on the cross. During the Middle Ages, people began decorating eggs and eating them as a treat following mass on Easter Sunday after fasting through Lent.
“The practice of decorating eggshells is quite ancient, with decorated, engraved ostrich eggs found in Africa which are 60,000 years old.In the pre-dynastic period of Egypt and the early cultures of Mesopotamia and Crete, eggs were associated with death and rebirth, as well as with kingship, with decorated ostrich eggs, and representations of ostrich eggs in gold and silver, were commonly placed in graves of the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians as early as 5,000 years ago.” (Wikipedia)

In most countries on Easter Sunday friends and family hit each other's eggs with their own. The one whose egg does not break is believed to be in for good luck in the future.

Cover image: Photo by Victor Larracuente from unsplash.com

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What Easter symbols do you have with your family?
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