The Origins and Traditions of Easter
We celebrate Easter on Sunday, April 21st this year and wanted to write an article and explore some of the traditions and rituals related to this occasion starting with “hunting eggs”. The tradition involves eggs in many ways; decorating them, egg rolling, and egg hunts. Easter has been associated with the tradition of painting hard-boiled eggs. However, this tradition has never been exclusive to the occasion of Easter. In many parts around the world and in many cultures, eggs are a symbol of fertility and people, Iranians and Muslims for example, decorate them on some occasions.
The Origins of Easter
Easter is the principal celebration of the Christian church. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ 3 days after his crucifixion. There are some different perceptions on the history of Easter and the way it’s celebrated. While the occasion is a Christian celebration, many people argue that traditions such as Egg Hunting have Pagan roots.
The Importance of Eggs in Easter Celebrations
As we mentioned in the introduction, in many parts around the world and in many cultures, eggs are a symbol of fertility. European Pagans (a term used to identify people who practiced non-Christian traditions) considered Eggs as a symbol of new life and regeneration that occurs at springtime. Christians adopted this idea but associated it with Jesus Christ rather than regeneration.
Decorating Eggs has never been exclusive to Eastern celebration. However, the tradition has been practiced by both Eastern Orthodox and the Western churches since the middle ages.
Easter, like Christmas and other Christian celebrations, has its own traditions and customs. Most of these traditions don’t have any religious origins.
- Easter Egg Hunts
Easter egg hunts are very popular among American families and children. An Easter Egg Hunt is a game where hard-boiled eggs are hidden for children to find on Easter. Children compete by finding as many eggs as they can find and the ones who find the most eggs gets a prize. They can also compete in other games such as egg-tapping.
- Easter Egg Rolls in the United States
In the United States, the Easter Egg Roll is an annual event celebrated at the white house. The event doesn’t have any known religious significance. However, many people associated it symbolically with the stone blocking Jesus’s tomb rolling away and leading to his resurrection. First lady Lucy Hayes (wife of US president Rutherford B. Hayes) is credited for starting this tradition.
Today, the games and activities that come along with the celebration of Easter are mainly to have some quality family time. However, children celebrate Easter by hunting eggs not only to have fun but also to learn more about the symbolic importance of eggs in the Christian culture.