Everything you ever wanted to know about Easter, but were afraid to ask

  • 28/03/2018

Come Sunday, much of New Zealand will be waking up ready to delve into delicious chocolate treats (if you hadn't already) to celebrate Easter. 

And while some of you may be familiar with the story of Easter and Christians celebrate it, others will be questioning how Jesus, chocolate eggs and the Easter Bunny all link together - and what day are we supposed to eat our chocolate on? 

Easter or Resurrection Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. 

The Bible says this happened three days after his burial, following his crucifixion on Good Friday. 

Professor Carole Cusack from the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Sydney broke down some of the common ideas surrounding the celebration.

Easter Eggs

Eggs, a symbol of new life are an analogy to Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday, she says.

In the Middle Ages, it was considered a treat to eat decorated eggs after mass on Easter Sunday, after fasting through Lent - hence why we gorge ourselves on chocolate on Sunday while celebrating Jesus' new life.

Since then, it has developed into the massive commercial deal it is now, with retailers and manufacturers cashing in on all sorts of chocolate treats. 


The English word for Easter is derived from the name of a minor Anglo-Saxon goddess, Eostre, the goddess of the dawn or spring. 

Feasts in her honour were often celebrated in April, Ms Curack says. 

Most other languages derive the name from Pesach, the Hebrew name for Passover, she says.

In Greek, Easter is Paskha, in French it is Pâques, Paaske is the Danish word for Easter, and in Italian Easter is called Pasqua.

How does the Easter Bunny fit in?

Ms Curack says there are two reasons why we have what's commonly referred to as 'The Easter Bunny'. 

Rabbits are known to breed rapidly, which creates a link back to theory of new life and the resurrection of Jesus.

In European folklore, hares were believed to have laid eggs or hide coloured eggs for children to find - which has now morphed into the much-loved Easter Hunt.