Allow Me To Change Your Mind: Easter’s Captivating Culture


John Huber, Reporter

April is now in full swing, bringing showers to help those May flowers bloom next month. One holiday is celebrated completely differently by many, depending on the religion they follow. Easter is celebrated between late March and late April and, some years, has been celebrated on April Fool’s Day.

There are some traditions many find bizarre and feel like two separate things. My focus here will be on the origins of the conventional side of Easter because it has connections that many don’t see. Let’s dive right in.

Let’s start with the name of the holiday itself which comes from St. Bede, the Venerable, the sixth-century author of “Ecclesiastical History of the English People.” That says the English word for Easter comes from Eostre, or Eostrae, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility.

Other historians maintain  “Easter” derives from in albis, a Latin phrase plural for alba, or “dawn,” that became eostarum in Old High German, a precursor to the English language of today. Manufacturing its first Easter egg in 1875, British chocolate company Cadbury sponsors an annual Easter egg hunt in over 250 National Trust locations in the United Kingdom.

The tradition of Easter eggs is believed to represent fertility and birth in certain pagan traditions that pre-date Christianity. Egg decorating may have become part of the Easter celebration in a nod to the religious significance of the holiday. In the religious aspect, they are traditionally painted red.

Also big on Easter are chocolate and jellybeans, as most people have abstained from sweets for Lent prior to the holiday. On Easter Monday, the president of the United States holds an Easter egg roll on the White House lawn for young children, a tradition that traces back to Dolly Madison, wife of the country’s fourth president.

The origins of the Easter Bunny are unclear at best, while some historians believe it arrived in America with German immigrants in the 1700s. Rabbits are, in many cultures, known as enthusiastic procreators, so the arrival of baby bunnies in springtime meadows became associated with birth and renewal. However, it’s not just the rabbit that has had the Easter spotlight as foxes, cranes and storks were sometimes named as mystical creatures. In Australia, an Easter Bilby is used in place of the rabbits since it is considered a pest in the country.

These non-religious traditions and their respective origins were banned by Quakers for being too pagan; however, the religious aspect is included in their Easter celebrations.

So Allow Me To Change Your Mind

Easter is a holiday of which I have no strong opinion. There is something that must be addressed, though. Sometimes it feel the modern traditions of Easter are seen as kid stuff while the more religious aspect of the holiday is considered the refined and adult way to celebrate. However, I can’t say this happens for all people as some of the religious stuff of the holiday comes from mainly that aspect and I don’t know if those who follow other religions feel anything like I do. But, celebrate it the way you want.

If you want Easter to be a day about religion, that’s fine, but if you want it to be a day about the renewal of life and spring, that’s fine, as well. Easter can be celebrated both ways.

Another aspect I have an opinion about is the date of Easter which has been sporadic and can potentially cause major confusion of the holiday’s appearance. Sometimes, it’s in the same month as St. Patrick’s Day, bringing March to a theme month; sometimes it’s celebrated in mid to late April, giving the weather a chance to offer a warm and sunny feeling and, some years, it can be on April Fool’s Day which makes it conflicting (and possibly chaotic, given the right prank) when a day of practical jokes falls on the same day as a serious religious milestone.

The celebration of Easter is sporadic as to when it is held and has a different feel every year, but it also takes a big risk when it falls on the same day as an unfortunate holiday. And that is no joke.