Easter Bunny or hare eggs dates back to pagan times and is more about fertility and celebration of spring than recent Christian Easter traditions. Honoured in many rite-of-Spring festivals, during the span of history, eggs represented mystery, magic, medicine, food and omen. So it represented the rebirth of the earth – the long, hard winter was over – the earth burst forth and was reborn just as the egg miraculously burst forth with life. The egg, therefore, was believed to have special powers: It was buried under the foundations of buildings to ward off evil or pregnant young Roman women carried an egg on their persons to foretell the sex of their unborn children. French brides stepped upon an egg before crossing the threshold of their new homes.
Why a rabbit lays eggs?
In the pagan spring celebration, they worshipped the goddess Eastre, the goddess of fertility and springtime and her earthly symbol was the rabbit. It was no ordinary animal, but a sacred companion of the old goddess of spring. The Easter bunny has its origin in pre-Christian fertility lore. The Hare and the Rabbit were the most fertile animals known and they served as symbols of the new life during the spring season. I’ll get back to our family tradition later, but just try to illustrate why spring when nature wake up from hibernation is significantly celebrated in Norway:
After a long, dark, cold winter: snow has gone and spring is in the air!
Feeling guilty about arriving late one spring, the Goddess Ostara saved the life of a poor bird whose wings had been frozen by the snow. She made him her pet and filled with compassion for him since he could no longer fly, she turned him into a snow hare and gave him the gift of being able to run with incredible speed so he could protect himself from hunters. In remembrance of his earlier form as a bird, she also gave him the ability to lay eggs – in all the colours of the rainbow – but only on one day out of each year. The eggs should be given to the children attending the Ostara festivals that were held each spring. The tradition of the Easter Bunny Eggs hunt had begun:
Hunting Bunny Eggs in the woods:
Outdoor recreation goes with my family – especially in weekends and holidays – and hunting the Easter Bunny Eggs is a tradition I can remember since I was big enough to sit in my father’s rucksack. Every year the feeling of anticipation and excitement takes me down the memory lane. You may say I’m a bit childish, but I’m just fine with that and it’s important to get the right spirit – and of course: you have to love being outdoors too. Here are more photos from last ears hunt, to give you an idea (click pics to bigify & enjoy):
Left: Egg catch of the day! Right: Capturing the catch & share by mobile phone.
Spring outdoor recreation:
Beside the thrill of the Easter egg hunt, this is also about enjoying spring – outdoors – after a dark and cold season. Since settlement of mankind in Norway, thousands of years back, we take advantage of, are celebrating and enjoying the feeling of spring – a significant change in seasons – and therefore an important part of our rituals and habits. Let me give a clue with a few example photos from last year:
Grill hotdogs on a stick on the bonfire.
After the ice on the sea have melted: Left: Skipping stones – Right: Kayoing
We are soon on our way to my home town to meet my parents and sisters family for this adventurous tradition. When I post this in advance this year, it is to give you all the chance to have fun the same way. Have you tried? Or would you like too? Tell me what you think in comments please!
I have of course posted about this over the years and here are the previous ones: