Sunday, Christians will celebrate Easter and commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without realizing it, they will also celebrate the pagan fertility springtime festival the Christian holiday supplanted. Crucifixions will mingle with fertility symbols--chicks, eggs, rabbits, flowers. It's been this way since the first Easter, at the tail end of the Iron Age. Look it up. In fact, the pagan goddess of spring and renewal was called "Oestar" from the Scandinavian "Ostra" and the Teutonic "Ostern" or "Eastre." This goddess of spring and fertility was honored on the vernal (spring) equinox. All that, and chocolate!
Of course, many people (most of the people on the planet, in fact) don't believe in Jesus as our Savior/Messiah, but they are still welcome to a chocolate bunny. Some people don't even believe in the Easter Bunny, who they claim is merely a magical mythical figure depicted as an anthropomorphic rabbit that delivers eggs in a basket. The following chart will help you place yourself according to your belief in Jesus (and of course many will simply be off the chart). This diagram may also help clarify your belief (or lack thereof) in the Easter Bunny.
The great Tom Waits helps us celebrate Easter with a stirring rendition of "Chocolate Jesus," combining both strains of the holiday in one tasty treat.
Speaking of anthropomorphic rabbits, here's one of our favorites, Bugs Bunny, helping the Easter Bunny in this cartoon classic from 1947, "Easter Yeggs." Just so you'll know, "yegg" is oldtime slang for a burglar or safecracker.
"Easter Yeggs" (1947) Looney Tunes
Springtime in Italy is the watchword around here, and this is how they celebrate the holiday. Wouldn't you know eating would be involved? You betcha. And you know it's good! Buona Pasqua! (Check out this post, Springtime in Italy).
Italy Travel: Easter Traditions in Italy
Isn't this little hatchling adorable? Long after the Iron Age but before the Age of Email, people actually sent these wonderful vintage Easter cards to family and friends. Of course, they weren't called "vintage" cards back then, no more than coins minted before the time of Christ carried the initials "B.C,," but now they've become collectibles. This was from the Golden Age of Illustration, before stock photos and Photoshop killed off the illustrators. Times were different then.
Here's another Easter cutie. Actually, this pin-up purports to be an actual photograph of the Easter Bunny. Then again, maybe it's Ostra, goddess of spring!