Have you ever wondered why the symbols associated with the holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ are a bunny rabbit with eggs? Well, believe it or not, there is actually a logical foundation for the bunnies and eggs on Easter.
The symbols’ origins are rooted in ancient antiquity when humans used the Vernal Equinox as an indicator of the end of winter. Spring was a very important time for our ancestors because the start of the spring season meant it was time to plant the year’s crops. To our early ancestors, spring represented new life and fertility because it’s when the grass gets green and the flowers begin to grow and bloom.
The Vernal Equinox also coincides with rabbits giving birth. However, rabbits don’t just give birth, they have litters. Because of the rabbit’s ability to rapidly reproduce and multiply, they naturally became a common symbol for fertility and new life in ancient times. And so there we have it: rabbits equal fertility and new life, which equates them with spring, which in turn, makes them a perfect symbol for Jesus’ new life, which occurred roughly around the Vernal Equinox.
Similarly, birds lay eggs around the same time. Eggs have been being decorated for as long as humans have been decorating; however, the rise of Christianity gave eggs a whole new meaning. In the early church, eggs were seen as a symbol of the resurrection because a living creature hatched from a seemingly lifeless shell. However, after the rules of Lent were hashed out by the Vatican, it gave rise to an egg issue. It turns out chickens don’t stop laying eggs just because humans can’t eat them. Therefore, at the end of the fasting season people were left with a huge surplus of eggs. So, what exactly does one do with an abundance of extra eggs? Decorate them and feast of course.
So, this time next year, when you’re hiding eggs for children, taking them for pictures with the Easter Bunny, or just devouring a pound of chocolate in the shape of a rabbit, try to keep in mind how it all represents Jesus’ miraculous resurrection, and the rebirth and renewal of life on this planet.
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