Bunnies and Eggs?

Dad and Mom with their four young girls!

Why does Easter move around on our calendar? Valentine’s Day is always February 14th. Mother’s Day is the 2nd Sunday of May and Father’s Day is the 3rd Sunday of June. July 4th is celebrated on July 4th! (Duh!) Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday of November; Christmas is the 25th of December. New Year’s Day is well . . . it is the first day of the new year. But Easter? The most celebrated of all the holidays? It moves around! A lot.  🤪

And before we answer that question, here’s another puzzling thought: how did bunnies and eggs become symbols for Easter? Bunnies don’t even lay eggs! If eggs are our symbol, then why not have a chicken? Or a bird? Or even a platypus! I know. Bunnies are cuter than platypuses. But still. Why are we coloring eggs for the egg hunt and eating chocolate bunnies on Easter? It is very confusing. 🙃

     And why do we buy Easter outfits and not Thanksgiving outfits? Or Valentine’s Day outfits, or Christmas outfits? (Okay. Some people do buy ugly Christmas sweaters—but that is just wrong.)  Then, of course, there’s Easter Lunch, which for many starts with a baked ham and ends with a carrot cake (to coincide with our cute bunny). And when did jelly beans appear? And why are they connected to Easter? What is this moveable Easter holiday really all about?

Mom made all the dresses and we bought matching shoes and socks and new purses!

     Okay. 🤨 Let’s take these questions one at a time. Easter moves around because the Jewish calendar is linked to solar and lunar cycles. It has to do with the Passover date, which also fluctuates. Easter is to be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Okay. Now that that is cleared up . . . 🙄

     So, why bunnies and eggs? There are many theories. But here’s the gist of it all. Pagan tradition, which predates Christianity, considered the bunny a symbol for fertility. Christians later took that symbol and used it to connect to the new life theme of resurrection. (Plus, bunnies are just so cute! 🐰) Later, many Christians began giving up eggs during lent. The chickens, of course, continued to lay eggs anyway! So, people would gather the eggs and save them for Easter. In order to salvage the bunny’s role in Easter, the Christians gave the bunny the job of delivering the eggs to everyone on Easter morning (because he was just so cute 🐰).  Then people began coloring and decorating the eggs to enhance the celebration. How the bunny became chocolate was purely for commercial reasons because who could resist a chocolate bunny? And jelly beans—well, they look kinda’ like eggs and are colorful and are just fun to eat. 😁

Mom made the capes, too. Enter our dog, Perky.

As for the outfits? It seems like as good a reason as any to buy new shoes, right? And then, of course, we need a new outfit to match the shoes. And a new purse. And my grandmother would have also bought a new hat. And I don’t know about you but my dad took pictures of the family out in the yard in our Easter outfits (made by my mom) every year for as long as I can remember. (By the way, in case you want to know, I’m the youngest and shortest one in all the pictures.) We would dress up, go to church, come home to a great meal cooked by Mom, look for the Easter eggs Dad had hidden in the back yard, hopefully find them all (but never did until weeks later when they began to stink), and then eat jelly beans and chocolate bunnies from our baskets. There is a lot of tradition wrapped up in this holiday for many—none of which have anything to do with Jesus! Except, of course, going to church.

Yes, these outfits were also made by Mom! We actually wore gloves! I don’t know why I had such a large purse. I loved Perky.

More people go to church on Easter than any other Sunday of the year. And there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with any of these things—chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, new outfits, colored eggs, egg hunts—it’s all good and fun. And it’s spring time and flowers are blooming and trees are turning green and, except for the pollen, it’s great to be outside again! And if people come to church all dressed up, that’s great too. I’m all for it.

     Actually, without Easter, the Christian church would not exist. It is the most important time in the Christian faith. So, in the midst of all the activities, we need to make sure we remember why we are celebrating and why we are happy (except for my sister Lynn, who was clearly unhappy in this photo). And here it is: After Jesus was crucified Mary Magdalene went to Jesus’ tomb only to find it empty, with Jesus standing nearby! And she talked with him and then “went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord.’” (John 20:18)

     We have new life in Christ. He is risen! Go and search for him yourself.  And then tell others!

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