Goddess of Fertility

Easter got its name from Ostara, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of fertility and rebirth. European tribes celebrated the beginning of spring at the vernal equinox, when day and night are equal in length, by blessing seeds for growth and placing colored eggs on an altar. They believed that this ceremony would bring them fertility for the upcoming year.

Christian missionaries noticed that this pagan celebration took place around the time of the resurrection of Christ, so they adopted Easter as a Christian holiday to increase conversions to Christianity.

Easter Hare

The Romans believed that all life proceeded from an egg, so the egg came to symbolize birth and rebirth. Christians regarded eggs as the seeds of life and attributed them with the symbol of Jesus' resurrection.

The rabbit was used in early Easter celebrations to symbolize fertility, perhaps because these animals give birth to multiple offspring at a time. Anglo-Saxon mythology says that Ostara changed her pet bird into a rabbit to entertain a group of children, and the rabbit laid brightly colored eggs for them.

Easter was once celebrated by giving colored eggs to children and later evolved to hiding them in the grass, where they had supposedly been laid by a hare. Children referred to this Easter mascot as the "Easter Hare," which later became known as the "Easter Bunny."

Easter Bonnet

When Christians adopted Easter, they paired this festival of springtime with a sermon. Following the tradition of dressing up for church, Easter Sunday became a special occasion to wear your very best clothes. In fact, many regarded Easter as the first time to wear a new dress and "Easter bonnet". In the early 1900's families would to stroll to church and home again on Easter to show off their "Sunday best."

Easter Basket

The Easter basket evolved from a Catholic tradition, where each family brought a basket of food to mass on Easter Sunday to have it blessed for the evening meal. Later, children would use Easter baskets to gather colored eggs and candy.

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