Easter Symbols – Classroom – BTN

A look at where the symbols Easter came originate.

Easter Symbols – Classroom – BTN

NATASHA THIELE, REPORTER: This is what you might picture when you think of Easter. But what does a bunny, eggs and buns have in common? Well, there are meanings behind each one, so let’s go on an Easter journey to find out.

Easter is one of the most sacred holidays on the Christian calendar. Good Friday represents the day Jesus Christ died on the cross and Easter Sunday is a celebration of when he rose from the dead. It’s a time when families get together and go to church; some Christians will even fast, giving up something they really like for 40-days in the lead-up to Easter. This period is called ‘Lent’, and it’s meant to teach sacrifice and self-discipline.

But Easter wasn’t always a Christian festival; some people believe Easter traditions go back to the Pagan religion, which was more about nature. They reckon the festival was originally for the Pagan goddess of spring and fertility named Easter. And that’s where they reckon the name might have come from.

She’s said to have brought new life to things like dying plants and flowers. Her sacred animal was a hare, which looks kind of like a rabbit. Okay, things are starting to fit into place a bit now, so let’s go back to the bunny, eggs and the buns!

Hares featured in pagan Easter festivals because; well let’s just say they’re good at breeding, so the animal was thought to be best at representing new life. It’s thought that over time people changed it to rabbit and that’s why we see chocolate bunnies and even stuffed-toy rabbits around Easter time. In fact, the first edible bunnies were made in Germany in the 1800s out of pastry and sugar.

But it’s not just the rabbits that have become a symbol of Easter, there are the eggs too! Eggs represent re-birth or continuing life and this fits in with the Christian message of Jesus rising. A common tradition is decorating actual eggs, which are then given as gifts. And it didn’t take long for someone to work out that if you made them out of chocolate, you could make loads of money by selling them.

From eggs to hot cross buns! Whether you scoff them fresh or you take the time to toast them, they’re traditionally eaten on Good Friday. Christians say the cross on the top of the bun represents Jesus’ death on the cross, known as the crucifixion. But they weren’t always eaten; some people hung them up in their homes believing it would protect them from evil. These days there are lots of hot cross bun varieties, like fruit and chocolate versions too!

So now you know why people eat chocolate bunnies, eggs and hot cross buns, it might help you to remember the real reason behind the season.

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