As millions of Americans prepare to attend church Easter morning to celebrate Christ’s resurrection and their children are busy counting the treasure left them by the Easter Bunny, it might occur to a few folks to wonder how the most important event in the Bible ever got hooked up with an egg-pushing rabbit.
That’s what this cute little 3-year-old Scottish girl wants to know in a video that has already garnered more than 50 million views.
Little Isla and her father, Mark Nelson, have produced a series of humorous pieces for the BBC that feature the pair conversing and sorting out the issues of the day. In their latest, a perplexed Isla asks some probing questions perhaps more Christians should ask as well.
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After a humorous exchange over why she’s allowed to have so much chocolate on Easter and other holidays — given that Mom says it’s not good for her and the country is gripped by an obesity epidemic — Isla cuts to the chase.
Isla: I don’t get the characters either.
Dad: What characters?
Isla: The Easter characters. We learned all about Easter at nursery.
Isla: Are Easter Bunny and Jesus best pals?
Dad: Well, not really.
Isla: Is Easter Bunny in the Bible? Does he carry a basket of eggs all the time?
Dad: Well, the thing is, he’s not really in the …
Isla: Does Jesus totally love chocolate then?
Dad: Well, the thing is, the Easter Bunny’s not really in the Bible.
Isla: What do you think Jesus’ favorite chocolate is?
Dad: I don’t think he had a favorite.
Isla: My favorite’s buttons.
Dad: Listen, Isla. Lots of people believe lots of different things, but the most important thing is that we have fun together.
Isla: Do you know what I really don’t get?
Dad: What’s that?
Isla: Bunnies don’t even lay eggs.
While many Christians would probably take issue with Dad’s verdict of having “fun together” as the most important thing about Easter, he is correct that Easter is not mentioned in the Bible — or at least the word is no longer found in modern translations. Joe Kovacs, WND executive editor and author of “Shocked by the Bible” explained why in a 2014 radio interview:
“The funny thing is, Easter has hopped right off the page of the Bible. It only appears once in the King James Version, and nearly every other Bible since 1611 has taken it out, because they realize that word [Easter] shouldn’t be in there. It’s a mistranslation of the word ‘pascha’ in Greek, which means Passover, and is used some 27, 28 other times in the Bible and is always translated ‘Passover.’
“But Easter itself, people don’t know what that word means. It’s the actual name of the Babylonian, pagan fertility goddess and goddess of the dawn associated with all kinds of fertility symbols like eggs and bunny rabbits and little chicks and all that kind of thing. It has nothing to do with the Bible. It has nothing to do with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
According to the History Channel, the tradition of the Easter Bunny arrived in America with 18th century German immigrants who brought with them stories of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Their children made nests in which Osterhase would leave colored eggs for those who had been well-behaved. The custom spread from Pennsylvania across the country, with baskets replacing nests and chocolate and other candy being added to the eggs.
Rabbits’ reputation for being prolific and eggs with their emerging chicks are seen as symbols of fertility and new life associated with paganism and probably account for how they became incorporated in Christian celebration. For many Christians, the symbols have been reinterpreted to give them a more biblical perspective — the eggs, with their broken shells, being a symbol of Christ breaking the bonds of death and emerging alive from the tomb. The practice of decorating eggs dates back at least to the 13th century, a practice that has been linked to them being a forbidden food during Lent. They would be painted and decorated to be eaten as part of the celebration of the Resurrection.
As for chocolate, it’s not in the Bible either.
We can only wonder what little Isla might ask about next year — perhaps Jesus and the Easter ham …