On Easter, the honoring of Jesus came first, and it is acknowledged throughout the world as the day of his resurrection, which is something of a miracle; so it seems to me that honoring him on Easter is kind of a no brainer. Consequently, it’s hard to imagine that the Easter Bunny trumps Jesus in terms of getting a great deal of acknowledgement, where Jesus, well, not so much.
In order to understand why this is the case, we need to look at how the Easter bunny came into play on a day that Christians have, for centuries, viewed it from a biblical standpoint.
According to the staff at History.com, paraphrased, “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.
Some sources state that the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of the egg-laying hare called “Osterhase.”
With this bit of history in mind, it seems a little odd that an egg laying bunny could usurp attention away from Jesus on one of the most revered moments in Biblical history, unless perhaps, it’s from the standpoint of “new life.”
As I recall from my childhood, the family would go shopping for new Easter outfits, including colorful hats for the ladies, and a pair of light colored shoes which were appropriate to the changing of seasons. Next, we went grocery shopping, and the main dinner course would always include ham, scalloped potatoes, and a vegetable.
Mom and grandma baked pies, and we would watched the weather report to see if rain gear would be needed, or if we would be blessed with sunshine.
All decked out in our Easter best, we went to church, but not until we checked to see if the bunny had stopped by to deliver the customary basket full of chocolate eggs. Of course we were excited to discover that we had been good enough not to be overlooked.
Church was the focus though, not the Easter bunny, or the chocolate eggs. It was a special day of celebration, as it was the day that Jesus, escorted by the angels, was taken to heaven to be with his father. I remember that it was a solemn day, but one that was also filled with joy, magic, and chocolate eggs. I was from a small town in the Midwest, and maybe things were done a bit differently in other areas of the country, but my guess is that there was more reverence given to the celebration of Christ on Easter back in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
I did check a few statistics to see how things measure up these days, and here’s what I found:
Nearly 71 million pounds of chocolate candy is sold during the week leading up to Easter.
LifeWay.com did a survey within the past two weeks of the number of people who planned to attend Easter services today, and the results are below:
20% – Didn’t know
39% – Said No
41% – Said Yes
I’m thinking that if the Easter bunny was to attend church on Easter, the results of this survey might be quite different.
What’s happened that makes the Easter bunny a rock star, and that Christ is losing ground? That’s a question I can’t really answer, but I suspect that less children are being taken to church, so it’s not something that gets embedded in their roots.
When the question of whether my friends are going to church, or not, comes up around this particular holiday, I find that most of them are not. They are getting together with family, and friends, or just hanging out. However, the Easter bunny is still alive and well in some of their lives, and I’m sure that the grand kids enjoy an Easter egg hunt in the back yard, and that the basket of chocolates is there to be searched for as well. It’s tradition, and perhaps “spirit” is found out there among the trees and flowers.
This isn’t a critique on the correct way to celebrate Easter. It’s merely a commentary. I was curious, so I decided to take a look at what we do, and from what I can tell, the Easter bunny is winning.
What did I do today? Most of what I did today, I often do on Sunday. I meditated, had coffee, showered and put on a comfortable pant suit, went to church, stopped at Jack-In-The-Box to pick up a sandwich, came home, and decided to write a story about Easter…while having a few small pieces of chocolate, but I did give more thought to Christ today, then I did to the Easter bunny. It goes back to what I learned as a child, and it’s embedded in my roots.
© Shari Adams
About the author shari2845