Easter 2017: What is the meaning of Easter, the Easter Bunny and why do we eat eggs?

Easter as we know, is the oldest festival of the Christian Church, celebrating the resurrection of Christ.

The  definition of the term Easter and the history of the Easter bunny and Easter eggs are not very clear

The definition of the term Easter and the history of the Easter bunny and Easter eggs are not very clear


But the definition of the term, the history of the Easter bunny and Easter eggs are not as clear.

The common story is that the word Easter comes from the Eastre or Eostre, the name of a goddess associated with spring.

But the theory of the existence of the goddess or a spring festival in her honour, unfortunately has no proven basis in history.

The closest definition of the word Easter may come from the word "east" or "ost" in German.

One theory is that the legend of the Easter bunny bringing eggs may have been taken to the United States by settlers from Germany in the 1700s.

According to History.com, German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania, transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called "Osterhase" or "Oschter Haws."

It added: "Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its coloured eggs.

"It is believed this custom spread across the US and the tales of the rabbit' deliveries on Easter morning expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests."

But bunnies are not the only animal traditionally associated with Easter in every country. Some countries identify the holiday with other types of animals like cuckoo birds and foxes.

Today, the Easter bunny has become a commercially recognised symbol across the world, much like Santa Claus.

Children can take part in a free Easter egg hunt this weekend

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The egg has been associated with pagan festivals celebrating spring and from a Christian perspective, the Easter egg is believed to represent Jesus' resurrection and emergence from the tomb.

One explanation for decorating the eggs is that people were formerly forbidden from eating them while fasting during Lent.

They were then eaten on Easter as a celebration. So people would would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting, before eating them.