Monday, March 21, 2016

Easter Symbols and Traditions

Easter is this coming Sunday, March 27. Just the other day I found an Easter egg dye kit stuffed in the back of my pantry. It's several years old because my kids have outgrown that tradition. They enjoyed dying the eggs way back when, but never ate them. 

In addition to outgrowing the fun of dying Easter eggs, they've outgrown the myth of  the Easter Bunny. However, one thing remains the same: they still enjoy eating Easter candy!

Ever wonder how these traditions came about? Here are some fascinating facts from

The Easter Bunny
The Bible makes no mention of a long-eared, short-tailed creature who delivers decorated eggs to well-behaved children on Easter Sunday; nevertheless, the Easter bunny has become a prominent symbol of Christianity’s most important holiday. The exact origins of this mythical mammal are unclear, but rabbits, known to be prolific procreators, are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests. Additionally, children often left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all his hopping.

Easter Eggs
Easter is a religious holiday, but some of its customs, such as Easter eggs, are likely linked to pagan traditions. The egg, an ancient symbol of new life, has been associated with pagan festivals celebrating spring. From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection. Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century, according to some sources. One explanation for this custom is that eggs were formerly a forbidden food during the Lenten season, so people would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting, then eat them on Easter as a celebration.

Easter Candy
Easter is the second best-selling candy holiday in America, after Halloween. Among the most popular sweet treats associated with this day are chocolate eggs, which date back to early 19th century Europe. Eggs have long been associated with Easter as a symbol of new life and Jesus’ resurrection. Another egg-shaped candy, the jelly bean, became associated with Easter in the 1930s (although the jelly bean’s origins reportedly date all the way back to a Biblical-era concoction called a Turkish Delight). According to the National Confectioners Association, over 16 billion jelly beans are made in the U.S. each year for Easter, enough to fill a giant egg measuring 89 feet high and 60 feet wide. For the past decade, the top-selling non-chocolate Easter candy has been the marshmallow Peep, a sugary, pastel-colored confection. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based candy manufacturer Just Born (founded by Russian immigrant Sam Born in 1923) began selling Peeps in the 1950s. The original Peeps were handmade, marshmallow-flavored yellow chicks, but other shapes and flavors were later introduced, including chocolate mousse bunnies.

For more great facts regarding the signs and symbols of Easter, click here.

Happy Easter in advance! Is any of this information new to you?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!


William Kendall said...

You know, I've never really been fond of jelly beans. Chocolate all the way.

Norma said...

Except for Jelly Bellies, I've never been a fan of jelly beans, either. Peeps are cute, but I don't eat them. Like William, I favor all manner of chocolate.

Even after I outgrew the Easter Bunny, Mom still dyed eggs every year and made baskets for me, Dad, and herself (Dad would have been quite disappointed if he didn't get the biggest chocolate bunny available every year).

shelly said...

Great fact-finding, Marie.

Donna Allen said...

I've never been a big candy person and never cared for the traditional colored eggs with white filling or Peeps. Actually, I couldn't stand Peeps. Chocolate eggs and Bunnies were great though! Maybe I'll treat myself to some this weekend. I always looked forward to coloring eggs with my family and having them in my lunchbox the nest week. Lovely memories.

Maria McKenzie said...

@William: I'm with you. I hate jelly beans, but I LOVE chocolate!

@Norma: I don't think I've dyed eggs for the past three years. But this year was the first year I didn't do Easter baskets. I got the kids chocolate bunnies and gave them a little gift, but not in baskets. I've had no complaints;).

@Shelly: Thanks, Shelly!

@Donna: Just give me pure chocolate! I don't really think I began to appreciate hard boiled eggs until I was an adult.