I never started the Easter basket and Easter bunny tradition with my kids. I didn’t want to take away from the true meaning of Easter. I also never really understood the whole Easter eggs - baskets thing and it was really hard for me to get into it with my kids. For Easter we kept it simple, we attended church as a family and spend a relaxing day together.
Several years ago my kids where asking questions about the bunny, the eggs, and the purpose behind the non-christian part of this holiday. So I did a little research so I could give them intelligent answers to their questions. Here is what I found out:
The Easter Bunny is a mythological rabbit who brings gifts and candy to children on the Easter holiday, most likely based on pre-Christian customs honoring the fertility goddess Eostre.
Eostre once saved a bird whose wings had frozen during the winter by turning it into a rabbit. Because the rabbit had once been a bird, it could still lay eggs, and that rabbit became the modern Easter Bunny.
As with the Easter Bunny and the holiday itself, the Easter Egg predates the Christian holiday of Easter. The exchange of eggs in the springtime is a custom that was centuries old when Easter was first celebrated by Christians.
From the earliest times, the egg was a symbol of rebirth in most cultures. Eggs were often wrapped in gold leaf or, if you were a peasant, colored brightly by boiling them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers.
Today, children hunt colored eggs and place them in Easter baskets along with the modern version of real Easter eggs -- those made of plastic or chocolate candy.