The eggs have been placed around the yard, the Easter (for clarity we will refer to “Easter” as “Easter” instead of “Resurrection Sunday”) bunny has been wrapped up in his costume and the festivities have begun! It is Easter and while all the younger kids are finding the eggs you hid, you begin to wonder, how did Easter all start and how did it become like it is today?
Well, in order to look at this historically, we need to go back about 1,988 years to a Sunday morning in ancient Israel.
The morning is still young as a couple of women approach a tomb. When they get there they do not see what they expect. They had helped lay a body of One Jesus Christ in this tomb not three days before. They had come back to anoint the Him in spices.
As is documented in the Bible, specifically the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the women found the tomb empty. The great stone that had covered the tomb was rolled to one side and when they looked into the tomb all they found were burial clothes. The body of Jesus was gone!
This came as a huge shock to them and they quickly ran off to tell all the others who knew Jesus. After spreading the news those who had first found the empty tomb said they had seen the risen Jesus (Mark 16:9). Soon after more claims arose that other people had seen Jesus (Luke 24:33-34).
More and more people claimed to have seen Jesus until a group of over 500 people say Him, risen (1 Corinthians 15:6). The news of Jesus’ resurrection spread like wildfire and within 300 years it was set as a Christian holiday to be celebrated every year.
The date was first set by the First Council of Nicaea and has been celebrated ever since, although many modern and pagan attributes have been added to it. These symbols mainly consist of the Easter bunny and Easter eggs.
The bunny and eggs both have their roots in other, pagan customs of which many have forgotten today (that they are pagan that is) and have nothing to do with the original Easter account. The egg symbolizes new life or germination for the beginning of spring. So, for the egg it is more related to the beginning and duration of spring than Easter itself.
The bunny has many of the same symbolism as the eggs and it is rooted in the same paganism that has no connection with the original Easter account.
Now, in 2013, Easter is still celebrated by millions around the world. For some it is a time for fun, food, gifts and candy. For others it is a time to remember the most important part of all their beliefs!