It’s beginning to look a lot like Easter and that can only mean colored eggs, ham and chocolate bunnies.
For Christians that also means heading to church to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but many of the rituals we associate with the holiday are not rooted in the Bible at all.
Here are some of the origins of your favorite Easter traditions.
Don’t tell your religious auntie, but running around looking for all those painted eggs is actually a pagan celebration for the beginning of spring. The season and all the new life it brings was symbolized by the egg. Christians picked up the custom in the 13th Century and started decorating eggs to commemorate the end of lent, when eating eggs was forbidden.
Guess what else comes from the pagans? That’s right, the Easter bunny. Easter derives its name from the Pagan goddess of spring and fertility named Eostra, who was symbolized by the rabbit because of their energetic breeding. At some point the Pagan rabbit and the Christian celebration merged together and said ‘thanks, Easter bunny.’
In the 1700s, German immigrants brought the Easter bunny to American shores in the form of Oschter Haws, a rabbit that laid colorful eggs as gifts for well-behaved children.
And you can thank your mom’s delicious ham on the weather. Prior to the invention of refrigerators, farmers cured the unsold pork through the winter to preserve it and their profits.
By the time spring rolled around, the cured ham was ready to eat, just in time for the Easter holiday.
From the pastel eggs to the scrumptious ham, now you know a little more about your favorite Easter traditions.