Where did the Easter Bunny come from?

Five surprising origins of modern day Easter traditions

Easter is a beloved holiday in the United States, celebrated by families across the country with traditions like dyeing eggs, hunting for candy-filled baskets, and gathering for a big Easter dinner. But have you ever wondered about the origins of these customs? Here are five things you might not know about Easter and its history in America.

1. The Easter Bunny

For many children, the Easter Bunny is a beloved part of the holiday, leaving baskets of candy and gifts for them to find on Easter morning. But where did this tradition come from?

The Easter Bunny's origins can be traced back to immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania in the 1700s. Easter hare was a popular figure who would leave colored eggs for children to find on Easter morning. When immigrants came to America, they brought this tradition with them, and it evolved into the Easter Bunny we know today.

2. Easter Eggs

Another Easter tradition is dyeing and decorating eggs. But why do we do it?

The practice of decorating eggs dates back to ancient civilizations like the Persians and Egyptians, who used eggs as symbols of new life and fertility. Early Christians later adopted the practice and would dye eggs red to symbolize the blood of Jesus. In the United States, the first chocolate Easter eggs were produced by the Cadbury company in the late 19th century.

3. Easter Parades

In many cities across the United States, Easter parades are tradition. But where did this custom come from?

The tradition of Easter parades began in the late 19th century and was popularized in New York City. Women would wear their new Easter bonnets and parade down Fifth Avenue, while men would sport their finest suits. Today, Easter parades continue in many cities across the country, including New Orleans, where the tradition has evolved into the famous Mardi Gras-style "Easter Bonnet Parade."

4. Easter Dinner

For many families, Easter dinner is a time to gather and enjoy a delicious meal together. But why do we traditionally eat ham on Easter?

The origins of Easter dinner can be traced back to early Christians who abstained from meat during Lent. After the fast was broken on Easter Sunday, meat would be served as part of the celebratory meal. In many cultures, lamb is still the traditional Easter meat.

5. Easter Sunrise Services

Many churches across the United States hold outdoor sunrise services on Easter Sunday, but where did this tradition come from?

The tradition of holding Easter sunrise services dates back to the early Christians, who would gather before dawn on Easter Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Today, many churches in the United States hold outdoor sunrise services on Easter Sunday, often in beautiful natural settings like parks and gardens.

Easter is a holiday rich in history and tradition. From the origins of the Easter Bunny to the symbolism of the Easter egg, these customs have been passed down through generations and continue to be a beloved part of the holiday for families across the country.