By now you’ve probably stocked up on Easter goodies and filled your baskets with plastic eggs and chocolate bunnies. But, if you think Easter is just a time to indulge in chocolate, think again—there's way more to this holiday than rabbits and chocolate.
Here are seven fascinating facts about the holiday you might not have known.
1. Origin of the Name “Easter”
The name “Easter” is derived from Eostre, a pagan goddess associated with fertility and rebirth. Her name is derived from the word austron, which means “to shine,” and is associated with the sunrise and the first day of spring. So while it's now considered a Christian holiday, the name itself actually comes from somewhere else entirely!
2. What the Easter Bunny Symbolises
The Easter Bunny is a symbol of fertility. If you thought the Easter Bunny was just a fluffy little thing, think again! In fact, the Easter Bunny represents fertility, which is why it's so popular around Easter. Bunnies are known for their ability to reproduce quickly, meaning they're often associated with fertility and new life.
3. Symbolism of Eggs
Eggs are also a symbol of fertility. Eggs have long been associated with fertility, too—and not just because we literally get them from chickens! Egg hunts have been part of Easter traditions for centuries now, and with good reason: in many cultures, eggs represent new beginnings and life. It's no coincidence that many cultures see eggs as symbols of rebirth or springtime!
4. Chocolate Eggs Once Resembled Real Eggs
Chocolate eggs were once made to resemble real, edible chicken eggs and were decorated with royal icing and gold leaf, according to The History Channel. These eggs were given as gifts to children and other loved ones on Easter Sunday morning.
5. Why Easter Dates Always Change
Easter is a moveable feast. That means it doesn't always fall on the same day every year. It's actually determined by the lunar calendar, which accounts for the full moon after the vernal equinox that occurs on or shortly after March 20th (which marks the beginning of spring).
6. Only Seven Years Left Until Easter Falls on April Fool’s Day
The last time Easter fell on April Fools' Day was 1956. It won't happen again until 2029.
7. Easter Was Once Banned in America
While Easter may be one of the most widely observed holidays in America today, it was once banned by Puritans in early America because they believed it was too pagan. In 1647, Massachusetts declared that anyone who celebrated Easter would be fined five shillings!