- FUN FEATURES
Easter is upon us!
The most holy of Christian holidays, Easter is a celebration that commemorates the Christian belief that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. It is a day celebrated all over the world, with feasts and pageantry in some nations, while others take a much more subdued approach to the holiday.
However, Easter has also become synonymous with the Easter Bunny. The famous purveyor of candies and, of course, chocolate, has been delighting children for centuries.
It is commonly believed that the Easter Bunny is an invention of modern times: a way to capitalize, commercially, on the Easter holiday. The truth is, the Bunny has been around for hundreds of years, and the inspiration for the Easter Bunny actually pre-dates Christianity. The symbol of the bunny originated with the pagan festival of Eastre where the goddess, Eastre, was worshipped. Her symbol was, of course, the rabbit.
Later the symbol of the bunny caught on in Germany, and German settlers brought it over to America. In fact, the first candy bunnies were not made of chocolate but of sugar and pastries.
It's unclear how the bunny and Easter were joined, but the first recorded fusion of the two comes after the Civil War where, as a part of the Easter celebration, children would wait for what the Germans had called the “Oschter Haws,” whose arrival was nearly as anticipated as Kris Kringle on Christmas Eve.
Since then, the Easter Bunny has become a hit, making the Easter Egg more common than Italian ham pie.
Here are some other fun facts about Easter:
*While the holiday is celebrated on Sunday, many nations also hold events on what is called Easter Monday. In Britain, for instance, football (known as soccer here) is played. The nation also has another favorite Easter Monday game called egg shackling, where competitors hold a hard-boiled egg in one hand while hitting their opponent with the other, trying to knock the egg loose.
*Ham has become the traditional Easter meal enjoyed by many families in America, but the choice of food differs depending on the part of the world in which you might find yourself.
There are hot cross buns in Australia; simnel cake in Britain; pacoca in Brazil; Easter cakes in Finland and Italy; turkey or chicken in Lebanon; and pasenbrood in the Netherlands.
*In ancient times, the pretzel was associated with Easter because the criss-cross shape of the bread was thought to resemble someone preparing for prayer.
*Eggs are a symbol of rebirth that dates back to pre-Christian times, and was incorporated into Easter celebrations because of that connection to the resurrection story.
*The preparation for Easter is 364 days in the making for many companies, as it is estimated that 5 million marshmallow chicks and bunnies are made per day just for the Easter holiday.
*More than 700 million Peeps are bought over the Easter holiday, making it the most popular non-chocolate item sold.
*The most popular candy on Easter are chocolate eggs, which were first made in Germany in the 19th century.