There are several ethnic groups in Northern Riley County, Kansas such as Germans, Swedish, Welsh, and Cezch. Each group brought with them traditions from their homeland.
Here are the Easter Traditions of the German and Swedes.
From the name to the bunny, it’s all German. The name Easter was first appropriated by the Christian calendar. First it was the pagan festival Ostara, celebrated on the vernal equinox, around March 21 in the Northern hemisphere. Ostara was named for the pagan goddess of spring, Eostre. According to legend, she once saved a bird whose wings had frozen during the winter by turning it into a rabbit. Because the rabbit had once been a bird, it could lay eggs. And, so it became the Easter Bunny.
The bunny as a symbol for Easter is first mentioned in writings in the 16th centery Germany. The first edible Easter bunnies, made of pastry and sugar, were also produced in Germany in the early 1800s. Around that time, children made nests of grass and settled them in their parents’ spring gardens for the Easter Bunny to fill during the night with brightly decorated eggs.
The Easter egg hunt remains as much a tradition in German town and cities as it is on the White House lawn in Washington, D.C. Children race to find the Bunny’s colorful eggs across the world every year.
In Sweden children dress up like witches and go door to door handing out coloring pages and art work in turn for plastic eggs full of candy. Or they have an Easter Egg hunt.
Easter Greetings to Everyone!