Here an interesting little factoid I just learned from a BirthdayAlarm.com email of all things:
Easter: How it all began…
It is common knowledge that Easter is a holiday surrounded by religious beliefs. But did you know long before its Christian association it was a pagan festival that celebrated the goddess of offspring and springtime? The Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring Eastre, who’s earthly symbol was the rabbit, was worshiped and celebrated during this festival.
During the second century the Christian missionaries decided to slowly spread their religious message throughout the population. The resurrection of Christ is the principal celebration of the Christian church year. The Easter pagan festival coincided with this Christian observance. Because of this the missionaries allowed the celebration of the pagan feasts to continue, but in a Christian manner.
Why are eggs a symbol of Easter?
Using eggs as gifts during Easter has been a tradition for centuries. In most cultures, eggs symbolize fertility, new life, re-birth and the germinating of life. The Easter egg hunt developed in the 4th Century. During Lent, eating eggs became a taboo so people began to cook eggs in order to preserve them. Soon, people began to decorate and hide the eggs for children to find thus creating the Easter egg hunt we know today.
Moral of the story is…don’t forget about the Goddess.