There is an anecdote about a child who comes home from school crying. He has been told that the Christ Child does not exist. The parents know the time has come and explain the situation. Still sniffling, the girl says, “Then we’re glad we still have the Easter Bunny.”
In Austria, you can even be especially happy because the bunny is far from the only custom for Easter, which culminates this year from April 8 to 10. The egg also takes center stage. This was already revered in ancient Egypt as the origin of the world; in ancient Greece and Rome were hung in the spring to celebrate the colourful eggs’ equinox and given away. The hard-boiled egg is also said to represent the death of Jesus Christ: It is as lifeless and cold as a tomb. In a more cheerful context, the egg stands when painted. Originally, red was used to commemorate Jesus and his shed blood.
It has not been handed down with certainty why the Easter Bunny hides the eggs. It is said that he was invented to explain to children how eggs get into nests. Since the hare is faster than the chicken, this task was attributed to him from then on. In pagan times, hares were also messengers of the goddess of spring.
The lamb also belongs to the series of animals that make their grand appearance at Easter. The significance here goes back to the early days of Christianity. The animal symbolizes innocence and also stands for Jesus.
The Easter fire originally had nothing to do with the Christian holiday. It was a Germanic custom to welcome the returning spring with a bonfire. Nowadays, these bonfires are mostly organized by associations, and the religious aspect has faded into the background.
The originally Christian custom, where winegrowers went into the vineyard with the harvesters to welcome the new wine year, is now also offered to tourists.
- Mag. Hector Pascua/picture: Bild von Stefan Schweihofer auf Pixabay
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