The Evolution of Easter


Merideth Langton

Candy and plastic eggs have become symbols of modern day Easter.

Modern-day Easter is surrounded by advertisements featuring the Easter Bunny and decorated eggs, celebrated by the secular and Christians alike. The meaning of Easter has drifted away from the religious aspect and cultural practices to become the celebration known today.

The origin of Easter lies in the death and resurrection of Jesus, who Christians believe was God on Earth. 

The Easter Triduum started when Jesus was arrested by Roman soldiers because priests thought he was a fraud. He was then condemned to die on a cross, which is commemorated on Good Friday. Following his death, Jesus was taken from the cross and laid to rest in a nearby tomb. After three days, Jesus was seen alive by one of his friends, who spread the word of Jesus’ resurrection. This day is celebrated by Christians as Easter Sunday.

Through time, Easter has lost its ritual tone for a more casual mood that prioritizes celebration over commemoration. 

Coe College junior Daniela Amarales said, “It’s a light-hearted tone. If you go to church and are sitting down for service it’s a lot more intense than staying at home, looking for eggs or watching an Easter movie.”

Easter traditions have evolved to a holiday associated with the Easter Bunny and eggs. However, Easter still maintains the same ideals. For example, bunnies and eggs are correlated with Easter because they are seen as a symbol of fertility and are born in the spring. Easter eggs represented the tomb opening after Jesus died. 

Without its Christian connections, Easter quickly became a commercial holiday. Today, Easter is commonly celebrated by egg hunts, watching movies and decorating eggs. 

“In my family it has become less about [the religious aspect],” Almarales said. “It’s mostly about being with each other and doing family activities.”

Most Christians have adopted the same commercial traditions but go to a church service on Easter Sunday, Good Friday and Holy Thursday as well.

Almarales said in her family, “It’s still celebrated with God and religion, but it’s mostly about being with each other and doing family activities.”