Where did the Easter egg hunt originate?

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  • Everywhere they hunt the many-colored Easter eggs, brought by the Easter rabbit. This is not mere child's play, but the vestige of a fertility rite, the eggs and the rabbit both symbolizing fertility.
  • The book The Two Babylons, by Alexander Hislop, had this to say: 'What means the term Easter itself? It is not a Christian name. It bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven, whose name, as found by Layard on the Assyrian monuments, is Ishtar. Such is the history of Easter. The popular observances that still attend the period of its celebration amply confirm the testimony of history as to its Babylonian character.' The hot cross buns of Good Friday, and the dyed eggs of Pasch or Easter Sunday, figured in the Chaldean rites just as they do now
  • Here, the "dyed eggs" are mentioned as part of the Chaldean(Babylonian) rites. The Catholic Encyclopedia comments: A great many pagan customs, celebrating the return of Spring, gravitated to Easter. The egg is the emblem of the germinating life of early spring. The rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility.
  • Reference works that speak of the subject agree that the egg was a symbol of life and fertility among Pagans. The book Celebrations says: Eggs were said to be dyed and eaten at the Spring festivals in ancient Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Rome. The Persians of that time gave eggs as gifts at the vernal equinox.
  • From these references, it is clear that the colored eggs originated in the ancient springtime fertility rites. The hunt, however, could also have originated there or came into play later, just as the annual Easter egg roll that occurs on the White House lawn. Again, maybe some others here will help with more info.
  • A professor told us the true origin was an offshoot of the crusades through Ireland by French knights. The crusaders would bribe children with food or money, to tell them the names of all the farmers who practiced the pagan tradition of burying a blue egg in their fields with their wishes written on it, for the spring season, that supposedly brought fertility to their crops. The soldiers would then go to the farms of those found with eggs buried and execute the owners for practicing pagan rituals.
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