Bunnies, Eggs, and Easter

The Muppet Peeps (and talking about eggs , bunnies, and Easter with kids)On the way to Spring Break camp this morning W announced, “You gotta get eggs for the bunnies, Mama?”

Me: What do you mean?
W: The bunny comes on EEEEASTER and he has to have eggs to put things in.
Me: Where did you hear this?
W: It’s just something I know, Mama. Everybody knows it.
Me: So do I get the eggs or does the bunny bring the eggs??
W: You pick, Mama. You can help the bunny out. You can get those eggs from CVS and mail them and he will put things in them and BRING THEM TO ME!
Me: Is that so?
W: You just do it, Mama.

This was the prologue to our conversation about Easter. Except I kind of eff’d up the religious aspect of it.

After W essentially schooled me on the egg deal I took a breath (just because I knew I was about to be parenting on the fly here) and asked, “so do you know WHY we are expecting bunnies and eggs this weekend?”

W indicated that he did not and before he could jump in with more specific holiday requests I told him that eggs were symbolic. I explained what symbolism was in a very “use what is in front of you” way.

Me: You see that red light? And how about that stop sign over there? They are using the color red to symbolize STOP. And now our light is green so green symbolizes…?
W: It means GO!

I told him that eggs symbolize the beginning, reminding him that he started as an egg. I told him that eggs remind us that Spring is here, that new flowers are coming and green will be everywhere. I said (seriously making stuff up at this point) that a lot of bunnies are born in the Spring and they want us to celebrate the new season because it is the beginning. Since the bunnies are SO HAPPY and excited they bring us treats. And since eggs symbolize Spring, they bring us eggs.

For whatever reason this information was just fine with W. But I need to up my knowledge on this stuff.

How do you explain bunnies, eggs, and Easter to your kid?

(by the way, the image in this post is from a SERIOUSLY funny roundup of “Peeps on Television” on Mental Floss.)

Talk to the plaid:

  1. Works for me. I’m dreading hearing what Peeper learns at her Presbyterian preschool tomorrow. She’s quite a fan of Baby Jesus (whom we’ve presented as an historical character, but she came home from school telling me “Jesus is the son of God.” Well, honey, some people believe that.) but we’ve never mentioned that whole crucifixion thing. Maybe they won’t either?

  2. Burrito and Tamale are Jewish, so the meaning of Easter hasn’t come up yet. Passover brings up some different awkward conversations. I always tell them the truth but sometimes I simplify or spin for developmental clarity. “The Jews were the Egyptians’ slaves” became “the Egyptians were very unfriendly and dangerous.” I have talked about how one of the plagues was “hurting babies” but I didn’t get into the actual passover part of Passover, putting lambs’ blood on the doors so that your house gets skipped in the killing of firstborns. That’s a little too intense at 3. Hell, that’s intense for me now. I’d rather explain resurrection than that — though it rivals the brutality of cruxifiction.

    Eggs are also part of Passover (though not as prominent, colorful, nor as candy-filled as Easter eggs) so we talked about how eggs are new beginnings of life, but in Judaism the hard-boiled egg getting harder in hot water also symbolizes the Jews becoming stronger through adversity.

    Bunnies aren’t part of Passover but they both love bunnies and enjoy meeting “The Big Bunny” at Easter events. I don’t explain the symbolism, it’s just one of those things — like why does a penguin show up at the parade in December? It just does.

  3. Somehow our kids have never asked about eggs or the Easter bunny. We talk about Easter and the reason for it (Jesus is alive) and even ask what they’d like in their Easter baskets. I am not sure who they think fills their Easter basket. Isn’t it funny that the questions that require us being a little less than honest are the hardest ones to answer?

  4. We don’t make a big deal out of Easter at our house. Usually, we’re still working through Halloween & Christmas candy and I can’t justify getting more for the kids!

    My kids are older and they understand both the Christian and Pagan origins of Easter simply because of friends, family, and that we like to keep an open mind about things.

  5. I so wouldn’t have been on top of it to answer the Easter bunny egg thing like you did. That’s awesome. My little princess diva goes to a church based preschool (which is not our faith) so we have only had questions on the religious side to field.
    Thanks for demystifying that bunny :)

  6. We like connecting major Christian-based hols to nature-based things, since they tend to be pretty unavoidable. We explain that the major holidays (Easter, Christmas) originated in celebrations of the changing seasons. Easter is a springtime holiday, hence the eggs and bunnies, as symbols of fertility, babies, new life, etc. Religions that came along later borrowed the timing and added their own meaning to it, but Christmas is about the longest night of the year, and celebrating the point when the light starts to come back to us, and Easter in particular is all about rebirth, new life. Our daughter at age 10 holds multiple beliefs at once about things like the Easter Bunny and Santa. She has known for a few years that her mamas are Santa and EB, and yet she chooses to believe anyway, because it makes her happy. AND she also makes the connection between S and EB, and the light coming back, and our garden waking up. It’s all made us really conscious of the seasons, and our connection to them. It’s lovely.

  7. We actually haven’t had them ask about the “commercial” side of Easter. But, I love what you said to your son, about Spring and new growth. I come from a Jewish background, and we as a family go to Church and raising them to know both sides. We are teaching them both about Passover and Jesus. I think they kind of know that the Easter bunny and candy is more for fun.

  8. Elizabeth has never asked me. I assume that is partially because she doesn’t go to school yet and partially because she thinks I already do a lot of weird stuff.

  9. That is charming! I can wait till my little girl start telling me things like that . Children are so clever and adorable when they so confident in everything they say:)

  10. We really emphasize the Christian aspect of Christmas and Easter. But we also let our kids have fun with the secular traditions. I haven’t tried to explain what the heck the Easter bunny and eggs have to do with Christ because they really don’t have anything to do with one another. I just told my kids that Easter is a celebration of the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ and the gift of resurrection he gave to all people, and that the Easter bunny and egg hunts is just a different, fun thing we get to do on Easter.

  11. A teacher I had in high school (we called him “mr. O” since his german name was a bit hard to pronounce) taught us briefly about the symbolism in Christmas traditions. I don’t remember everything, but I know it had to do with december being the best month for conception, since the new baby would be born at harvest, when food is plentiful. I think they would ummm fool around (?) Under the ever green trees, which was supposed to bring them health or luck in baby making lol, I so wish I could remember now! Even the holy berries symbolize a womans menses. I’m gonna have to google this now lol

  12. I never asked my parents about Easter. Granted, I went to a Southern Baptist school from kindergarten through 12th grade. I’m Catholic. It was…um…confusing, lol. But I got the whole Jesus is risen spiel pretty early on and it never came up with my parents. My dad is something of a non-church going Bible scholar, so he could’ve rocked my world if I HAD asked him. My mom would’ve perpetrated the greatest parenting fail of all time…she would have offered to “tell me when I got older” and then offered me soda and a puppy :-) Kudos to you for not going that route.