Easter-Should Catholics "do" eggs/bunny's...?

I am a Protestant who is just beginning to raise our new family Catholic. I was intending to focus on church for Easter, as I was raised–but I know grandparents/aunts/uncles will shower the kids with secular eggs/bunnies/chocolate etc. Should I be teaching the kids that the secular stuff is just that, secular and for celebrating Spring, but not Catholic?

Eggs, at least, are a very Catholic practice, going back to a pius legend about St. Mary Magdalene, and the symbolism of new life (the chick) breaking out of the dead rock (the egg).

The sainted woman of Magdala was not a passive witness to the resurrection. According to tradition she was a woman of high standing who used her wealth to travel and bear witness to the risen Lord. She even gained entrance to the court of the Emperor Tiberius Caesar. When she met Tiberius, she held an egg in her hand and announced “Christ is risen!” The Emperor laughed at her and said that someone rising from the dead was as likely as the egg in her hand turning red. Of course, that is exactly what happened: the egg turned red and she continued to proclaim the good news to the imperial household. Icons of Mary Magdalene often show her holding a red egg and it is the custom of the Greeks to color their Easter eggs red.

From here: fullhomelydivinity.org/eggs.htm

There are a couple more legends on there about the coloring of Easter eggs.

Where the bunny comes from, I got nothing.

That was a very interesting link. Thanks for sharing. I have to admit, though, I chuckled at the one regarding Christ telling those in attendance at the Crucifixon to paint eggs red as he just had. It just seems very out of place with the traditional Gospel tellings of the Crucifixion.

Hi and glad to have you here! :slight_smile:

You’re quite right that there are neither eggs nor bunnies in the Gospel; but not everything that’s non-Scriptural is anti-Scriptural - would you agree? (No Christmas trees in there either. :wink: )

Certainly whatever theological underpinnings the Easter Bunny may have had in the past have pretty much been undermined by the relentless advertising machinery (same with Santa Claus, though you can still find enough redeeming qualities to make the story worthwhile).

Bottom line is, I would say: respect other Christians who have managed to find theological justifications for these traditions, but feel completely free to say what you please to your own family about them.

And have a blessed Easter! :slight_smile:

My parents never told us a story about the Easter Bunny, he just always came and left plenty of candy and hid eggs around our house. Our parents told us that he left us candy for being good all through Lent. We would have Easter egg hunts all the rest of the day, and it was so fun.
An interesting story, we have a friend who is white and his wife is asian. His wife would never allow Easter egg hunts because it was not part of her culture. One Easter they came to our house and we had an Easter egg hunt (we were unaware of the cultural difference) the dad was so happy because his children were being introduced to some Western traditions.
This gave me a new perspective of it the hunt, it is not all about a big bunny that drops eggs, but more about having fun, rewarding children for sacrificing during Lent, and it is just a fun tradition.
That is part of the problem with the Church today, is that people said we don’t need this, or that was not in the Bible so it has got to go, and now we have the Church and the tradition is stripped from her and she is not nearly as beautiful. Tradition is important, and a harmless, fun tradition, should be viewed as just that.:shrug: Just my opinon.

Yours Through Our Lady,

Sorry if I’ve offended you. I didn’t mean to imply that since it is not in the Gospels does not mean that it isn’t true. I just meant that it did not flow with the account as told by the Gospels.

It just made me chuckle because today’s more secular view of the Easter Egg (at least in America) and its association with the Easter Bunny. I, for one, had never heard any of the Christian traditions behind the Easter Egg. The juxtaposition of the two just made me chuckle a bit. It was not that the tradition itself is funny…not at all. I should have explained better in my original post.

As to the OP’s question, I think it is all in the intent of the celebration. As long as the secular portion of our traditional Easter celbration does not obscure the actual meaning of the day, I think it is fine.

No offense taken at all! I think it’s good to bring these things up from time to time so we can all have a better understanding of the traditions we take for granted, rather than just …

… you know …

… taking them for granted … :rolleyes:

(sorry - my eloquence is at a low ebb today! is it Saturday yet?? :wink: )

Its all about “new life” and “ressurection”.

What is the origin of the Easter bunny?

Have you ever wondered where the celebration of the Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Christ acquired its unusual name and odd symbols of colored eggs and rabbits?
The answer lies in the ingenious way that the Christian church absorbed Pagan practices. After discovering that people were more reluctant to give up their holidays and festivals than their gods, they simply incorporated Pagan practices into Christian festivals. As recounted by the Venerable Bede, an early Christian writer, clever clerics copied Pagan practices and by doing so, made Christianity more palatable to pagan folk reluctant to give up their festivals for somber Christian practices.


Like the origin of Easter, the origin of the Easter Bunny has roots that go back to pre-Christian, Anglo-Saxon history. The holiday was originally a pagan celebration that worshipped the goddess Eastre (so even the name “Easter” comes from this pagan traditon). She was the goddess of fertility and springtime and **her earthly symbol was the rabbit.
Thus the pre-Christian Anglo-Saxons worshipped the rabbit believing it to be Eastre’s earthly incarnation.

When the Anglo-Saxons were converted to Christianity, the pagan holiday, which occurred around the same time as the Christian memorial of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, was combined with the Christian celebration and given the name Easter.

Thanks for all your quick answers!

I had heard about the pagan traditions that had morphed into religious holidays with newfound “ways to explain them” so that people could keep their seasonal “habits” within a Christian frame of mind.

I am all for allowing the kids to celebrate the secular fun of Easter, as long as when I ask them what Easter* is*, their answer involves Christ (they are young, so their answers can be adorable).

My question in this forum, was to ascertain if the *Catholic Church *frowns upon any of the the secular stuff. Since this is my first year as a “Catholic” Mom, and the kids are young enough to start off right, I want to make sure I present holidays the right way the first time.

We always had an equal number of eggs for each child PLUS ONE. The one was the “Jesus egg,” and it was a very big deal to find it. Mind you, it was just one more hard boiled egg upon which I had written JESUS and drawn a little cross, and you didn’t get a “prize” or anything for finding it, but even in the littlest child knew it was something special and searched high and low for it. My eldest daughter, when in college, spent an Easter out of state with her grandmother. Early that morning, her sisters got a phone call – “Don’t bother looking for the Jesus egg – 'CAUSE I’VE ALREADY FOUND IT!!” :smiley:

Actually, I’m thinking about starting an orgainization called “Catholic Radicals Against Bunnification” (CRAB). We’d have a motto (“Shhhh! Be vewy quiet! I’m hunting wabbit!”), a patron (St. Elmer Fudd), an official song (“Kill the wabbit! Kill the wabbit! Kill the WAAAAABBBITTTT!!!”, sung to the tune of Wagner’s "Ride of the Valkyries), and an official dish (hassenpheffer).

“Here comes Peter Cottontail,
I’m hoping that his heart will fail!
Hippity-hoppity thud!”

Eggs? I got no problem with eggs.

I LOVE the idea of the Jesus egg. Thanks for sharing (and spreading) your tradition.

Be careful how you explain it to very small children, though - lest they come away from it thinking Jesus somehow came OUT of the egg! :wink: :smiley:

My favorite Looney Tunes cartoon! :thumbsup:

You’d LOVE this one Easter card Wal*Mart carries–a back-view photo of a little girl in an Easter dress with her cat sitting next to her. The voice bubble above the girl says: “I hope the Easter bunny has lots of candy!” The voice bubble above the cat says: “I hope he has a limp!”

Then there’s the one with the photo of a preacher in the pulpit saying: “Today’s Easter sermon is… where the hell have you been since Christmas?”

Actually, before my train of thought got derailed (thanks, JKirk :rolleyes: ) I was going to tell you what we used to do about egg hunts. First off, the explanation for all the candy was that, when we were growing up, it was traditional for kids to give up candy for Lent. Easter Sunday, we got baskets full of candy (presumably, we had done an “heroic” job of suffering through Lent and deserved a reward!)

We used to hide the Easter baskets (for my son and niece and two nephews) with all the candy and goodies (including, but not limited to, a new swim suit and beach towel, beach toys and sunglasses, because spring break meant visiting a favorite uncle in Lake Havasu City, AZ and hitting the beach!) and then have an Easter egg hunt in the afternoons. With four kids, we often ended up with way too many hard-boiled eggs (you can have pink-and-blue egg salad for lunch just so often before the gag reflex kicks in just THINKING about it!), so we scaled back on the egg dyeing (to just 5 or 6 each) and I went out and bought those plastic eggs that you can fill with candy.

So I filled most of them with plastic rosaries; scapulars; little plastic statues of Jesus, Mary, the saints; religious medals; religious stickers, erasers, and tiny prayer books, and other stuff that wasn’t candy. With the age spread we have (six years between the oldest and youngest) I even took to writing their names on the eggs with the rules as follows: If it was easy to find (in plain sight, about five years ago!) then it probably belongs to Joseph, the youngest. If you find an egg, check the name on it. If it’s your name, you can pick it up. If it’s not, leave it where you found it and DON’T yell out, “Hey, Joe, I found one of your eggs!”

The oldest (my son) is now 14 and while he disdains the idea of an egg hunt… he still likes his Easter basket. Snickers, a new CD, minutes for his tracfone, a DVD or two or a Playstation game (guess what HE gave up for Lent) and “fun” clothes like shorts and t-shirts.

And the significance of Easter? He can’t WAIT to serve the Saturday Easter vigil Mass! “It’s SO cool!” :thumbsup:

We never have had the Easter Bunny come. We do hide plastic eggs with treats in them, that’s a tradition in my husband’s family going back since the first kid (he’s one of seven) was little. My father in law is THE best egg-hider.

We color-code; the oldest has three colors he can look for, the youngest gets three others. Obviously the oldest’s eggs are harder to find. :smiley:

This year we’ll be making a “pascha basket” of our Easter feast foods, and our priest will be blessing them at Easter Vigil service. I’m putting two fancy chocolate rabbits in there, and some chocolate lambs, a nod to the Lamb of God. :wink:

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