Easter falls in the spring, the yearly time of renewal, when the earth renews itself after a long, cold winter.
The Easter Bunny arose originally as a symbol of fertility, due to the rapid reproduction habits of the hare and rabbit.
A notation in the household accounts of Edward I of England showed an expenditure of eighteen pence for 450 eggs to be gold-leafed and colored for Easter gifts.
The first book to mention Easter eggs by name was written five hundred years ago.
Some European children go from house to house begging for Easter eggs, much like Halloween trick-or-treaters.
The decoration of small leaf-barren branches as Easter egg trees has become a popular custom in the United States since the 1990s.
The first recorded observance of Easter happened in the second century, though it is likely that Christians were celebrating the resurrection much earlier than that. Today, the holy day has inspired a wide variety of traditions — from Sweden’s trick-or-treating Easter witches to Venezuela’s tradition of burning effigies of Judas.
But in many other languages, the word for Easter is still deeply tied to Passover, the festival that celebrates the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. Jesus was crucified soon after he arrived in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover feast.
The Orthodox Church calls Easter “Pascha.” In French, the holiday is known as “Pâques.” In Spanish, it is “Pascua,” and in Dutch, “Pasen.”
the Easter Witch. In Sweden and parts of Finland, a mini-Halloween takes place on either the Thursday or Saturday before Easter. Little girls dress up in rags and old clothes, too-big skirts and shawls and go door to door with a copper kettle looking for treats.
In Italy, it’s all about eggs, the symbol of rebirth and renewal. Italians go all out with chocolate eggs, which can range from tiny solid ones to beautifully wrapped foot-high hollow eggs, which hide a gift inside. For children you can buy chocolate eggs stuffed with a surprise toy, while for adults there are ready-made chocolate eggs containing such treats as costume jewelry or designer sunglasses inside.
Much like trick-or-treaters, children in sixteenth century Northern England and Scotland would go from door to door reciting rhymes in exchange for eggs, cheese, bacon, and other items to add to their families’ Easter meals. The practice was called “pace egging.” Eggs were also used as Easter offerings or payment, particularly by English peasants.