The hoppy holiday

A look into a very unusual holiday.

The bunny and the eggs are two symbols of Easter.

The bunny and the eggs are two symbols of Easter.

Reece Marley, Staff Writer

Origins of Easter:

Easter originated long before the advent of Christianity. Easter began as a pagan festival to celebrate the arrival of Spring in the northern hemisphere. It celebrated the Spring equinox, where the amount of daylight and dark is identical. It then became a symbol of Christianity following Advent, becoming associated with the resurrection of Christ. Festivals brought on a new theme; this theme became explicitly connected to Jesus having conquered death by being resurrected after the crucifixion. Around 325 AD the date of Easter changed from the spring equinox to the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox.

Why the rabbits and the eggs?

The rabbit and eggs became a very popular symbol of the Easter holiday. The rabbit and the eggs represent a symbol of new life. This became a common explanation for people after the resurrection of Jesus. The new life is explained following the winter months. The new life is represented by nature coming back to life following the chill of the winter months. The first known mention of a rabbit being associated with the holiday came in the early 1720’s when a German professor, Georg Franck von Franckenau, mentioned the “Easter hare” in a book he published.

Easter customs and traditions

            There are many customs and traditions associated with Easter across the world. One of the most common traditions in the United States is associated with kids. The very popular egg hunt on Easter morning in and around the yard is a highlight of the holiday. Kids go around carry their baskets searching and collecting hidden eggs, these eggs often containing money and candy. Another common American Easter tradition is the painting, dyeing, and coloring of hard-boiled eggs between friends and family. Another common tradition is the creation and sale of chocolate bunnies. Many chocolate companies come out with their own versions of chocolate bunnies around Easter. The German tradition of Osterbrunnen involves the decorating of public wells and fountains with greenery and Easter egg décor began about a century ago. German villagers wanted to honor Easter and the gift of water, which also represents life and renewal. Villages in Germany hold competitions too see who creates the most fanciful fountain. Over 200 villages compete in the competition.

Local Easter activities.

            Due to COVID-19 all events in the Tampa Bay area were cancelled, that didn’t stop church services from being held online and certainly didn’t stop Easter egg hunts being held online. Since all the events were cancelled, I’m going to highlight a few events that happen every year, so you can start looking forward to next year. The Florida Aquarium hosts an underwater egg hunt giving kids the opportunity to meet a scuba diving bunny. Many of the YMCA’s in the area host their own Easter bash that includes an egg hunt, games, and great food. The University of South Florida holds an annual service followed by a helicopter egg drop of over 20,000 candy filled eggs with play zones, game trucks, raffles, and more. Many more local restaurants host Easter brunch for families and friends.