Although the Christian festival celebrates the culmination of Lent and the resurrection of Jesus after his death on a cross, Easter comes from a pagan tradition in honor to Eostre or Ostara.
Eostre is a Germanic divinity related to the fertility and spring. Her most famous symbols are: eggs and hares or bunnies.
Easter Sunday is a festival and holiday celebrated by millions of people around the world who honor the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred three days after his crucifixion at Calvary. It is also the day that children excitedly wait for the Easter bunny to arrive and deliver their treats of chocolate eggs. Easter is a ‘movable feast’ which is chosen to correspond with the first Sunday following the full moon after the March equinox.
Do you know why these symbols are the most important ones?
• Hare is a symbol of immortality. It is also a major symbol for fertility and abundance as the hare can conceive while pregnant. Over the centuries the symbol of the Hare at Ostara has become the Easter Bunny who brings eggs to children on Easter morning, the Christian day of rebirth and resurrection.
• Egg (and all seeds) contains ‘all potential’, full of promise and new life. It symbolizes the rebirth of nature, the fertility of the Earth and all creation. In many traditions the egg is a symbol for the whole universe.
In short, Christian and pagan traditions relate spring and Easter to the rebirth, fertility and life.
• Lent: an annual season of fasting and asking forgiveness in preparation for Easter.7
• Hare: a long-eared animal similar to a rabbit but usually larger.