Roots lost in modern Easter celebrations

Published 12:05am Sunday, March 31, 2013

The American celebration of Easter has never seemed a proper holiday to me. Something about it just isn’t right.

Perhaps the menagerie of Easter bunnies that scurry around the holiday is at the root of my unsettled feelings about our Easter.

Unlike Santa Claus at Christmas who has a fairly specific look, the Easter bunny just needs to be fuzzy and have ears. Everything else is subject to interpretation.

The result can be a bit scary for all of us, downright mortifying for some children.

The holiday gets even weirder when the Easter bunny hides chicken eggs filled with prizes.

It takes a good bit of imagination and faith to believe that’s possible. And, aside from a few fibbing adults, I’ve never heard of anyone who actually saw the Easter bunny hopping along, so it’s difficult to buy the story.

It just doesn’t seem natural. Of course, neither does the strange practice of dying Easter eggs, either.

All of that is certainly odd on its surface, but there’s a deeper problem with modern Easter.

Clearly, like Christmas, Easter is a holiday with a split personality. Rooted in Christian beliefs, Easter is the day Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Getting to those roots can be difficult; however, as the holiday is now filled with much more secular imagery — bunnies, eggs, candy and the like.

For millions of Americans, Easter doesn’t have a thing to do with religion. It’s a holiday filled with Easter bunnies, eggs, baskets and other trimmings.

Lost in our interpretation of the holiday for many is the most amazing of Christian beliefs — Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth, died for mankind’s sin and was resurrected three days later.

It’s at the core of Christianity.

On its surface, the story of the resurrection is potentially as difficult to believe as the giant bunny sneaking around with a big basket of eggs.

The difference is simple — witnesses.

While few if any official Easter Bunny sightings have occurred, the Bible documents hundreds of people who saw Jesus, in the flesh after he was crucified.

Beyond the witnesses, is another seemingly amazing fact that we often forget.

If the resurrection was a hoax, put forth by Jesus’ followers, look at how the historical record shows they changed.

At the crucifixion the disciples were timid and fearful.

Upon seeing the resurrected Jesus, they gained massive confidence and were filled with a drive to spread the amazing things to which they were witnesses.

That reaction couldn’t be faked. A group of people doesn’t suddenly risk life and limb just to keep a hoax up.

No, they became emboldened and determined to share what they’d seen, not out of self-preservation, but because it was so amazing.

Somehow the Easter Bunny doesn’t evoke the same sort of reaction. He never has and never will.



Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or

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  • WarrenPeace

    The roots of Easter actually date back centuries before early Christian missionaries began to merge the ancient Saxon’s pagan Eastre celebrations of spring with the Christian observance of the resurrection of Christ. The Easter Bunny is in no way a modern invention. The goddess, Eastre, was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthly symbol, the rabbit. The “strange practice of dying Easter eggs” also predates the Christian celebration of Easter. The practice of exchanging eggs in the springtime is a customs that was centuries old when Easter was first celebrated by the Christians. Happy Easter!