An Origin of Some Easter Rituals and Beliefs

April 7th, 2012

Happy Easter everyone. I was reading up on the origins of some of the holiday’s traditions and I thought I’d share some of the more interesting ones with you.

The word Easter is thought to be derived from a pagan goddess of the dawn named Eostre. One wears new clothes on Easter as a showing of respect to her. Since she has given the world new garb to wear, to wear anything old was seen as discourteous and bad luck.¬†Interestingly one old superstition states that if one wears three new things on Easter, they’ll have good luck for the rest of the year.


The tradition of the American Easter Bunny came from German immigrants who taught their children of a hare who’d leave gifts of colored eggs in the Easter bonnets of good children. I’ve found no reliable source as to why it’s a hare that delivers eggs (some versions of the legend say the hare actually lays them as well). A theory is that both eggs and hares (or rabbits) are symbols of fertility, which is what the return of Spring is all about, really.

As for the Easter bonnet, it was originally a crown of leaves or flowers. The¬†circularity of it represented the sun, the flowers represented it’s ability to give life.

The coloring of eggs likely originated with how they were colored. Often they were dyed by being boiled with colorful flowers. To bring these into your home was to bring a little of Spring inside with you.


Select Sources:
“A Treasury of Superstitions” by Claudia Delys.
Eostre and Easter Cutoms

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