Ok, so now that we’ve covered the religious history, you had a solid understanding of the theme. That’s good, because that’s what you need to understand how the holiday is celebrated.
Usually, when you ask someone about Easter, there are a couple of things that come up right off the bat: the Easter bunny and Easter eggs. The Easter bunny is to Easter what Santa is to Christmas. It’s a mascot, a sign of fertility since antiquity. The Easter bunny, like Santa hands out treats to good children (another way to get children to behave huh?). The bunny is depicted as hopping around with a basket giving out colorful candy and colored eggs – sometimes; the bunny has some interesting clothing on. (Fashion wise, it’s definitely different. Different is good! But don’t go around dressing like the Easter Bunny. Please.)
The Easter bunny has traditional roots, but it’s a bunny because, well, bunnies reproduce fast. (Didn’t see that one coming did you?) The Easter bunny goes around handing out eggs because the eggs symbolize fertility, birth, and the empty tomb of Jesus – that’s why we celebrate Easter! That’s the theme – fertility, life, and rebirth, and since rabbits mate during the spring (a lot) then it’s an easy association. Eggs, obviously grow into some living creature. It’s really poetic when you think about it.
But it’s not just that they’re there for symbolism. Over time, traditions started because of these symbols. The Easter bunny, for example, has been embraced by movies, books, even companies like Cadbury. The eggs the bunny is supposed to hand out are decorated with dye and other creative things, like sparkles or little glitter. As such, people do decorate the eggs. It’s a family friendly activity that many people (especially children) enjoy. Once those eggs are decorated and dry, friends and families usually get ready to play an Easter egg hunt – the eggs get hidden in random places, and the winner is the person who collects the most eggs in their basket. A huge game is played in Central Park each year – if you’re ever in New York during Easter, stop by, it’s tons of fun. Plus, people get REALLLLLY competitive. It’s funny watching people take colored eggs so seriously.
Some people like to do egg tosses. Teams are created, in pairs of two, and they’re given one egg. The two players play a game of catch with the egg- throwing it back and forth- until someone misses and it falls, cracking and usually making a fun mess. There’s a catch, though. With every other toss, the players need to step back, distancing themselves more and more. It’s pretty cool – unless you can’t throw or catch. You’d be surprised though at how hard it is for the egg to crack in your own hands. I remember once I had to physically TRY to crack the egg in my hand – I thought the egg was on steroids. It just couldn’t crack. Then my friends started saying it wasn’t the egg but I was just not strong enough (we ended up arguing about who was stronger and forgot about the egg. But that’s a story for another day. )
There’s the egg spoon race too – this game I personally find really weird because it looks strange, but that’s the fun of it. So it goes like this, you put the hand-held part of a spoon in your mouth so that the egg can be placed in front of you. Then, keeping the egg in the spoon, you run a race. If the egg falls, you lose.
Also, you don’t have to be Christian to play any of these games. So if that was worrying you, don’t think twice about it.