The Christ in Prophecy Journal

The Origins of the Easter Bunny

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Easter or Resurrection Sunday?

Since we are coming up on Easter, have you ever noticed how easily people are offended when you speak about Jesus and the Cross? If I call it Easter, I have had people in the church get upset because they want me to call it Resurrection Sunday, NOT Easter.

However, the word Easter is used in the King James Bible. Acts 12:4 says Peter was arrested, and Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after Easter. The ESV and NASB use the word Passover, but King James refers to the festival as Easter.

I realize that without the Resurrection, we are all lost and without hope. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am that those who have accepted Christ have the promise of Resurrection and eternal life. However, in the public setting, I often refer to the day as Easter only because that is how the world knows it, and I want to share the hope of eternity with as many people as possible. That’s where I want to focus on sharing the news of Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, and resurrection with as many people as possible.

This past weekend, I was at a local marketplace, stores, movie theater, restaurants, and outdoor kids’ play area. I trust you know the setting. I was amazed how at 10 am on a Saturday there was line after line. The longest line was for families bringing their little ones to have their photo taken with the Easter bunny. After that, families went from storefront to storefront to receive free plastic Easter eggs, each with a piece of candy inside. I just took a step back and watched as my heart ached because as I looked at line after line, I wondered how many of these parents and children knew what Easter — Resurrection Sunday — is all about.

Perverting What is Good

Satan is a counterfeiter; he takes everything good and perverts it. At Christmastime, the birth of Jesus is commonly pushed aside as Santa Claus takes center stage. City councils have banned nativity displays from the public square. Store Christmas ads do not say Merry Christmas but say Happy Holidays. People are often afraid of offending someone by celebrating the birth of Christ. Then, at Easter, Jesus is pushed aside once again as the Easter Bunny takes center stage. It’s heartbreaking how so many people are blinded and deceived.

When adults talk about taking their kids to an egg hunt or to a marketplace to have photos with the Easter bunny, I casually ask them if they know the Easter Bunny’s history. How and when did this figure become part of our culture and history? Usually, no one seems to know.

Why do we spend so much time and money on this holiday? According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), consumers in the United States in 2024 are expected to spend $22.4 billion on Easter. That is over $177 per adult, and this year’s estimate is higher than the nearly $22 billion spent last Easter.

The Easter Bunny’s Origin

The history of the Easter Bunny and its role in America is unclear. It is believed that the tradition started in the 1700s when immigrants from Germany came to America. It seems the legend of the Easter Bunny was born somewhere in Pennsylvania. In the last three hundred years, this tradition of Easter eggs and the Easter Bunny has been commercialized to the point that for many Americans, the Easter egg has superseded the Cross.

Some traditions say the bunny represents fertility, and because Easter has its roots in a pagan fertility festival, the rabbit has become the iconic symbol. So, when we give our kids chocolate easter bunnies, are we giving them little chocolate fertility goddesses? The problem is that Europeans denied that they ever had a festival celebrating a spring goddess or a festival honoring a goddess named Easter or any derivative of that name. The bunny is not the symbol for Easter in other European countries, such as Switzerland, where the icon is a cuckoo bird, not a bunny.

Easter Celebrations Around the World

Easter eggs and chocolate are standard in many parts of the world. But Easter is celebrated differently in other parts of the world. For example, in Poland, they have Wet Monday, which has evolved into an all-out water fight. Men will find a female they like and douse her with water. One does have the ability to offer an egg as a ransom to avoid getting soaked. In the Czech Republic, an Easter Monday tradition is where men decorate twigs with ribbons and take them around town to strike any woman they “fancy.” Chasing a woman with a stick seems to be an act of endearment. In Sweden, kids dress up in old clothes and face painting, and they have Easter witches because they follow an old belief that witches fly off to commune with Satan on this day.

Somehow, in the last several hundred years, America has adopted and accepted the tradition of an Easter Bunny bringing baskets filled with colored eggs to the houses of children the night before Easter. The Easter bunny then hides the eggs somewhere in the family garden for the children to find when they wake up in the morning. This is the root of the now-common Easter egg hunt.

The Resurrection of our Lord and Savior

Can we put aside myths and legends and focus on the truth? Easter is NOT about chocolate and eggs and bunnies or cuckoo birds. It’s about the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior.

That Easter weekend changed the world. The Enemy wants us to replace the Cross with colored eggs. The Devil wants us to seek after a bunny, not a Savior.

For the sake of the next generations, we need to focus on celebrating Christ’s resurrection. Our families need to know what our Lord went through from Palm Sunday, through the Passion Week, to the betrayal in the Garden, the illegal trial, the torturous crucifixion, the burial in a borrowed tomb, and especially His rising from the dead! We need truth and hope, not myth and legend.

There is nothing evil in having some chocolate, but please don’t let your focus be distracted from the life-changing truth of the promise of eternal life. All made possible because of the price paid on a wooded cross many years ago — a day when innocent blood was shed for your guilt and my guilt. That day of distress turned into a day of bliss, and all because of Jesus. Let’s celebrate Resurrection Sunday in a way that honors the King of kings and the Lord of lords — Jesus Christ.

Maranatha, Lord Jesus!

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Dr. David Bowen

Dr. David Bowen serves part-time at Lamb & Lion Ministries as the Teaching Evangelist. He pastors Standing Stones Community Church in Phoenix, Arizona.


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