There's More to the Easter Bunny Than You Think: The Meaning Behind Our Favorite Easter Symbols
Posted April 8, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — Hundreds of thousands of people in the Triangle will celebrate Easter this weekend. Many of them will mark the holiday with traditional Easter eggs and bunnies. But what do those things have to do with the real meaning of the holiday - the death and resurrection of Christ? WRAL's Tracy Wilson set off to find out by going Out & About.
First, she investigated the Easter egg, the most universal of the Easter symbols. The exchange of eggs actually predates Easter by centuries. Originally they were painted with bright colors to symbolize the sunlight of spring. Later, they were colored, etched and exchanged as romantic gifts, just as valentines are today.
Eventually, they became associated with spring's most celebrated holiday, Easter. It's commonly believed that the shell represents the tomb in which Christ was buried and the chick that hatches from the egg represents Christ rising from the dead.
While pastels are usually the color of choice for dying eggs here in this part of the world, other countries use different colors. In Greece, for instance, Easter eggs were traditionally colored red to symbolize the blood of Christ. It turns out the Easter egg is a commercial staple today, but it does have some ties to the religious meaning of the holiday.
Easter bunnies have their beginnings traced back to pagan festivals, as symbols of fertility and life. Sometime later, in the 1500's, Germans incorporated the bunny into their celebration of the Easter season. They were also the first ones to eat Easter bunnies, which were made out of pastry and sugar. The tradition traveled with them to America, though it really didn't catch on until after the Civil War, when Easter became more widely celebrated.
The Easter lily is another of the most commonly recognized symbols of this holiday. Legend has it that lilies were found growing in the garden of Gethsamane after Christ was crucified. Supposedly, they sprang up where drops of Christ's sweat fell to the ground.
However you mark this holiday, we hope it's a happy one! Out And About marks another religious holiday of the season, Passover. There are more ties between this Jewish holiday and Christian traditions that you might realize. Tracy Wilson checks it out at 7:05 Friday morning as she goes Out and About.